Cambridge buys circadian lamps to wake sleepy students

Cambridge University, former home to prime ministers and presidents, poets and writers, can be a very sleepy place in the winter.

Cambridge University, for good or ill, has given the UK some of its greatest writers, scientists, poets and prime ministers, but that doesn’t mean that its students are immune from that most common of university ills: extreme lethargy.

Now Cambridge is attempting to stamp out student laziness by installing LED desk lamps in some of the darker corners of the historic main library.

Developed by Lumie, a company well known for creating light boxes that are able to ease the problems associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the lamps are tuned to the body’s inner circadian rhythm, an internal body clock, that primes the body for sleep, alertness and concentration.

Other lamps have been installed in the staff break rooms, to ensure that lecturers don’t become too used to the sleepier side of academia and actually show up for classes.

The staff room lamps have been designed to give teachers a midday boost of light, while encouraging a relaxed lunchtime.

The lamps have been carefully tooled to recreate, as closely as possible, the daylight of a summer’s day. The fixtures also aim to boost concentration on wintery nights when it starts to go dark in the mid-afternoon.

The majority of the university year takes place during the winter months, meaning it would be worthwhile for universities to tackle the problem of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the damage a lack of light can do to concentration levels and nip winter laziness in the bud.

A poorly lit Cambridge University library has already honed and sculpted some of the world’s finest minds, so just imagine what a well lit library could do.