Migraine in the Office? Could be Your Ceiling Panels!


Imagine: it’s 2PM on a Tuesday. You’re sitting in front of your computer, running through the project you’ve been working on for two weeks, when all of a sudden, you feel a painful jab behind your left eye. You don’t think much of it at first, desperate to wrap up your work before your meeting at 3 o’clock, but after only three minutes, the pain starts to engulf the entire left side of your head, and the throbbing is unbearable.  

Great. You have a migraine. 

Table of Contents 

  1. What is a Migraine?
  2. The Solution
  3. Switch to LEDs
  4. Why LEDs are Better for your Migraine
  5. Choosing the Right Color Temperature
  6. Green Light
  7. The Modern Migraine
  8. Lights Out in Your Headache


What is a migraine? 

You’ve probably had a headache before, but a migraine is different. It can feel like the world is ending and there’s nothing you can do to make it go away.  It can cause debilitating, throbbing head pain that can leave you in bed for days. The headache phase of a migraine usually lasts at least four hours, but it can, in more severe cases, last for days. Migraines get worse with: 

  • Physical activity. 
  • Bright lights. 
  • Loud noises. 
  • Strong odors. 

When you’re stuck in the office, staring at a screen and sitting under bright ceiling panels, you are actually more prone to migraines, especially if you’re someone with higher sensitivity to light.  

Putting yourself in this hypothetical, you could potentially pack it up and go home for the day. You can get some rest and turn off all the lights, but what happens the next day or the day after that? While dodging the office that might work in the short term, you can’t cut your workdays in half every time you have a migraine (even if we all kind of want to).  

Because, let’s face it, as long as you keep going back to the office and sitting under those cold, white panels, you’re exposed to the potential of a debilitating headache.  



The Solution 

If you’re a longtime sufferer of chronic or frequent headaches, you probably already know that there is no true cure for migraines. Crazy, right? After decades of migraine research, the best we’ve been able to come up with are home remedies and medication for temporary relief.  The other solution is “avoiding migraine triggers” which is super helpful when you work in an office with blinding fluorescent ceiling panels.   

So, what can you really do about your office ceiling panels? Surprisingly, the answer is, quite a bit!  


Switch to LEDs 

If your office is still using florescent ceiling panels, first of all, why? They’re outdated by more than a decade, and LEDs are heaps ahead of them when it comes to better lighting. Not only does LED lighting last way longer than fluorescent lights, but it also contains no ultraviolet light or harmful gases. 

If you’re struggling with your current office lighting, try to implement long lasting LED panels, like these ones from Sunco Lighting 



Why LEDs are Better for your Migraine 

A not-so-fun, fun fact is that fluorescent lights are notorious for causing skin irritations and eye issues because of their UV rays. The absence of UV rays in LEDs make them ideal for office environments where employees are required to sit at desks all day or work under a bright light.  

LEDs also don’t hum or buzz like some old school fluorescent panels do. And don’t even get me started on the way that fluorescent panels flicker. There is nothing more irritating to me when I have a migraine than the light that caused my headache to have the audacity to start strobing. I’m at the office, not a disco bar! 

Fluorescent bulbs have a highly directional output as well, so when you’re stuck under one, it can feel like it's literally bearing down on you. On the other hand, LED lights are much more omnidirectional, meaning that they distribute light evenly throughout a room. 



One of the best things about LED panels is that many are dimmable. When you’re stuck in the office, instead of putting on your sunglasses, you can instead, dim the lights to a more comfortable setting—something that you can’t do with most fluorescent fixtures.   

Some LED lights also offer a selectable color temperature feature, which is helpful when you need to switch to something warmer. Studies show that warmer color temperatures are easier on the eyes and cause far less strain. These would sit between 2700 and 4000 on the kelvin scale, giving off a relaxing white light. 


Choosing the Right Color Temperature 

Honestly, when it comes to migraines, the only good light is no light. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to settle for the next best thing. In this case, unless your office has a dark nap room, the next best thing would be warmer color temperatures. 

Sunco’s LED ceiling panels offer a color selectable option so that you don’t have to struggle with one fixed color. Most office buildings stick to 5000K to help improve focus and keep people alert, but many have recently started moving down the scale to 4000K as excessive eye strain is becoming increasingly problematic in our society.  

Lowering the color temperature any further could lead to increased drowsiness however, so 4K is the best for a communal office setting.  



Green Light 

Interestingly, the best color of light to use when you have a migraine is green light. Green light does not activate retinal pathways as much as other light rays, so it is less likely to induce a migraine. Furthermore, you are less likely to experience aversion or sensitivity to green light during a migraine attack. 

One 2018 study found that white, blue, and red lights made headaches worse in 80% of the participants, while green light worsened headaches among 40%. And while other colors of light triggered headaches in 18% of participants, green light triggered headaches in only 3%. Not all offices are down to go green in a literal sense, but for offices looking for a change in color, green is a good solution for those who have sensitivity to light.  

If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself, you can find Smart bulbs that can change light color here. 


The Modern Migraine 


There are a million things that can cause or worsen a migraine. OK, maybe not a million, but it can certainly feel that way when you’re in the throes of one. One of the most prominent causes of the modern migraine is screen time and smart phone usage. This is unfortunate when you consider the fact that most office jobs require you to use your computer screen all day.  

A study done by the National Institute of Health has shown that extended screen time is associated with an increase in migraines in its participants. They have even expressed that there are more cases of chronic headaches and migraines caused by extended exposure to the blue light in screens.  The scariest thing is that these migraines caused by blue light coming from your phone or computer screen are actually proven to be less effectively treated by medications.  

A quick and easy change that we can make to help relieve this eye tension is switching our display settings. Some user interfaces have what is known as “night mode” which filters out a lot of the blue light that would otherwise strain your eyes. While this can certainly help, it’s not a foolproof cure.  



Lights Out on Your Headache 


While there aren’t any cures for migraines, we can at least try our best to find some relief in any way that we can. As much as I would love to claim that switching to LEDs is a surefire way to get rid of those headaches, it isn’t exactly the cure-all.  However, I can confidently say that warmer CCT, LED ceiling panels are way better for your eyes than something much brighter.  

So even though you can’t curl up in bed at home every single time your headaches knock you out, there are a handful of small changes that can turn your office from a nightmare into a tolerable space for your migraines.   


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