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Health light in the psychiatry

The effects of artificial lighting on symptoms of eating disorder – a pilot study

The project

The objective of this pilot study is to explore if and how artificial lighting affects symptoms of eating disorders (ED). If an influence of artificial lighting on symptoms of eating disorders is indicated, the study will provide information on how to improve light exposure to ED patients in psychiatric treatment units. In addition, the outcomes may help identify a better system for measurement and adjustment of the specific light variables of colour temperature and light intensity.


In Denmark, psychiatric treatment is primarily a public task and managed by the regional authorities. The Mental Health Services of the Capital Region of Denmark constitute the largest psychiatric hospital in Denmark and treat approximately one third of all patients suffering from mental illness in the country.

Key capacity figures (2015):
1,176 inpatient beds, 13 community mental health teams, 23 assertive outreach teams, 8 mental healthcare of older people teams, 12 early intervention in psychosis teams, 37 outpatient clinics

What the project aims to solve

A vast number of studies have shown that light influences mood, with the most evident example being in seasonal affective disorders, where treatment consists of frequent exposure to intense broad-spectrum lighting. Since emotions are dysregulated in eating disorders (ED) and depression is a frequent comorbid disorder, we believe that exposing patients to intense broad spectrum light will stabilize mood and reduce signs of depression

Hypothesis 1: Artificial lighting adjusted to circadian rhythms will improve well-being in patients with eating disorders

Hypothesis 2: Exposure to high CCT/high LUX intensity will reduce affective symptoms in patients with eating disorders.


Commissioning March 15, 2018


Psychiatric Center, Ballerup Boulevard 2, Ballerup


Capital Region of Denmark, Aalborg University – Institute for Architecture & Media Technology, Zumtobel Group

Current status

Finishing construction work of the new buildings, installation of lighting, sensors & management system.


Patient room (by Rubow, Wessberg & Bogl)

LM_demo_RegionH_Psykiatri_screengrab_lyskoncept-exPlan bed unit / dynamic lighting concept – daytime                                       Plan bed unit / dynamic lighting concept – nighttime

(by Rubow, Wessberg & Bogl)

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