Chronobiologically Improved Cabin Lighting on Long-haul Flights

Exploration of the Passengers’ Comfort on Long-Haul Flights via Higher In-Flight Relaxation and Higher Activation Levels at the Destination

Project Justification

Apart from the seats, cabin climate, vibrations, and noises, cabin lighting plays an important role for passengers’ comfort during long distance flights. Former studies already showed that chronobiologically adapted light color and intensities shape circadian rhythms by suppressing melatonin levels. Nevertheless, there is little knowledge if light exposure from aircraft cabin ceilings are suitable to produce relevant effects sizes.

Different cabin lighting scenario (from left to right): Standard cabin lighting with fluorescent tube, light sleep phase, wake-up phase, awake phase

Our Approach

We compared passengers’ comfort and physiology in six simulated 10-hour long distance flights with chronobiologically modified LED cabin lighting and standard cabin lighting. The subjects reported their level of activation and stress in the morning at the beginning of the flight and in the evening at the end of the flight as well as their overall well–being and comfort. In addition to that, ixp measured their heart rate variability, facial expression and hormone levels of melatonin and cortisol.

Experimental setup

Insights and Outcomes

Passengers in the warm white lighting condition report a stronger feeling of comfort and positive emotional valence. When warm white lighting was presented in the evening, it helped passengers to increase their level of rest and sleep during the flight, whereas cold white lighting in the morning had an activating impact on passengers’ physiology. Overall, the results showed the importance of chronobiologically modified cabin lighting during long distance flights. Ixp was able to use existing techniques to create mood lighting in order to positively influence passengers’ circadian rhythm and reduce potential jetlag symptoms.

Setup of the cameras on the aircraft seats

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