Philips HealWell lighting system improves sleep for cardiac patients
7 December 2011
Patients in rooms with a new lighting system sleep better,
according to research on the effect of light on the sleep-wake rhythm of
cardiac patients carried out by the Maastricht University Medical Center+
(Maastricht UMC+) in partnership with Philips.
After seven days in a patient room fitted with HealWell ─ a new
lighting system developed by Philips that mimics the natural
day/night cycle outdoors ─ patients sleep on average 8% longer.
After one week in a patient room fitted with standard lighting, on
the other hand, patients' sleep duration was in fact slightly
shorter than on the first night.
Sleep essential part of recovery process
Existing scientific research has shown that high levels of light
during the day help to regulate the human biological clock and the
sleep-wake rhythm. If a person's biorhythm is less than optimum,
this can disrupt sleep and give rise to all manner of health
Philips HealWell combines the positive biological effects of
natural daylight with a pleasant atmosphere in the patient room.
This has a positive effect on the patient's sleep patterns and that
in turn has a positive effect on their biorhythm, which is important
for their health and well-being. HealWell also enables patients to
create a pleasant atmosphere from the comfort of their hospital bed
and enables caregivers to create optimum light in which to work.
The research has demonstrated some significant improvements: the
time it takes a patient to fall asleep is reduced by approximately
30% during the period between the first and the seventh night and at
the same time the duration of sleep at night increases by on average
8%. This means that a patient sleeps on average 30 minutes longer.
The research also shows that patients really appreciate being
able to select the ambient lighting themselves. The healthcare
personnel are also very impressed with the Philips HealWell
lighting, partly because of the better light distribution over the
entire bed without any annoying shadows.
The Maastricht UMC+, the Clinical Trial Center Maastricht and the
University of Maastricht have spent over nine months carrying out
research into the effects of the Philips HealWell system on sleep
and well-being among patients.
This dynamic lighting system was installed in a number of
patients’ rooms in the hospital's Cardiology department. Over 100
cardiac patients took part in the survey, whereby one group was
treated in patients rooms fitted with the Philips HealWell system
and the other group, the control group, was treated in patient rooms
equipped with standard lighting.
It is still too early to make clinical claims of the healing
effects of HealWell, but the field study has shown positive, very
“We can now tell from the results of the Philips HealWell
research that better light during the day enables patients to sleep
longer at night,” says Dr Petra Kuijpers, cardiologist at the
Maastricht UMC+. “The patient's mental state is an important factor
that influences the prognosis for cardiac patients, and light could
have a positive effect on this, as well as on the patient's health
in the long term. This is, however, an area in which further
research is required. What the positive results of the clinical
validation research demonstrate is the valuable role the HealWell
lighting solution can play in improving the healing environment and
promoting the recovery of our patients.”
HealWell lighting solution
Philips HealWell is a lighting system that is installed in a
hospital patient room. HealWell produces lighting levels that change
gradually throughout the course of the day, much like the changes in
light outdoors on a sunny day, and this affects sleep and mood. It
is becoming increasingly important for healthcare institutes to
create a healing environment in order to make the patients' stay
more enjoyable and to promote their recovery.
“The research into HealWell at Maastricht UMC+ ties in with the
findings of earlier research, which found that light has a positive
effect on health, mood and well-being, not just for people in a care
environment but also for healthy people,” says Dr Luc Schlangen,
Senior Principal Scientist at Philips Lighting.
“The Maastricht research is the first of a number of research
projects that are already in progress or are in preparation in
hospitals, such as in the new intensive care unit at the Jeroen
Bosch hospital in Den Bosch and in the Hematology department in the
Erasmusziekenhuis in Rotterdam. We will use the insights we have
gained into the experiences of patients and caregivers to develop
meaningful innovations that will improve people's lives.”