How glass can affect our body clock

Solstice Glass, from Cantifix, can help regulate sleep cycles using natural light, while offering protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Cantifix, which produced the range for domestic and commercial construction, brought structural glazing to the market almost 30 years ago.

For the past five years, the company – run by brothers Charlie, Matthew and William Sharman – has sponsored research by Oxford University into the beneficial effects of daylight on human biology, with studies taking place on the Danish Island of Bornholm and in Sweden’s arctic north.

This research involved the creation of The Photon Space: a self-contained, standalone glass living space designed to improve wellbeing, avoid ‘biological darkness’ and help people reconnect with the natural world.

The specifications for Solstice Glass are based on scientific evidence gathered from the Photon Space project, as well as other pioneering research led by top scientists in this developing field.

Blue light in the narrow band width of 450-485 nanometres wakes up body clocks by suppressing melatonin, the hormone essential for sleep. Solstice Glass has been designed to allow these wavelengths through unhindered, a feature which would not be true of all glass.

Featuring low-iron manufacturing, with a high performance laminated outer sheet to filter out harmful UV light, and an acoustic laminated inner sheet, Solstice also creates functional home spaces through its use of glass walls, floors and rooflights.

Charlie Sharman, CEO of Cantifix, said: “With autumn bedding in and winter on the way, the dark and dreary days are here to stay. Between our work on the Photon Space and during this extensive lockdown period where we have been indoors, we wanted to see how we could pack in as many features into the glass which promote the benefits of natural light, while protecting our customers from harmful rays.

“To maximise our wellbeing and health, we need natural light. Our bodies thrive on it; it’s our primary source of Vitamin D, and it governs our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. It is a vital component of the signature of life.

“However, in the average UK home only 12% of the outer walls are glazed, meaning we live in relative gloom compared to the natural light out of doors. As a result, many people have no access to a critical burst of morning light, keeping us in perpetual biological darkness.

“While our Solstice Glass can’t bring the sun back, it will at least increase your access to natural light, which will allow your home to be rejuvenated, reinvigorated and ready for the months ahead.”