Lighting in the Home and Health: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 12;18(2):609. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020609.


Poor housing is an important determinant of poor health. One key aspect of housing quality is lighting. Light is important for visual performance and safety, and also plays a vital role in regulating human physiological functions. This review aims to synthesise existing evidence on the relationship between lighting in the home and health and recommends areas for future research. Three databases were searched for relevant literature using pre-defined inclusion criteria. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale. Extracted data were qualitatively synthesised according to type of lighting (natural light, artificial light and light at night) and stratified by broad health domains (physical, mental and sleep health). Of the 4043 records retrieved, 28 studies met the inclusion criteria. There was considerable heterogeneity in light exposure metrics used and specific health outcome assessed by the studies. Lighting in the home can negatively affect health but the current evidence base is limited to a small number of studies in different domains of light and health. Further research surrounding specific health outcomes is required to better inform housing quality assessments and lighting practises in the home.

Keywords: health; home; housing; illumination; light; residential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Lighting*
  • Sleep