Learn how different types of bedroom lighting can affect your mind and body.
This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
Did you know that light exposure plays a significant role in moderating your circadian rhythm, telling you when to feel sleepy and when to feel alert? For this reason, humans have evolved over tens of thousands of years to follow a sleep-at-night, rise-at-daylight routine. The latest sleep technology embraces this idea, creating innovative ways to alter the light in your bedroom, so you can sleep sounder and wake up refreshed.
While it might seem obvious that a brightly lit room is not conducive to sleeping, other types of lights and their effects are less apparent. For instance, the blue light emitted by electronic screens can make it hard to fall asleep.
Along with red LED nightlights that don’t suppress the release of sleep-enhancing melatonin the way blue light does, there are other innovations in sleep lighting that can make it easier to secure those recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Wouldn’t it be great if the lights in your home mirrored your circadian rhythm? Now they can, thanks to several lighting manufacturers who have devised bulbs that can switch from a warm, reddish light to a cool, blue-hued one, depending on whether it’s night or day. The bulbs can also be programmed to turn on (softly at first, then more fully) when your alarm goes off, and dim themselves as you drift off to sleep.
The biggest trend in home lighting is controlling lights wirelessly via apps on smart phones or tablets. Some LED smart lights sync to your computer allowing you to control them remotely so long as you have your laptop. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home Hub both offer smart lighting options that allows users to adjust the brightness anywhere in the house—including dimming overhead bulbs at night or turning on localized lighting options when you are in bed reading while your partner is asleep.
Some high-tech bedroom lamps create a glow that mimics the colors of sunrise, invigorating you when you turn them on in the morning and supporting your body’s natural circadian rhythm with their energizing tones.
Blue Light Filters
You can use blue light filters on tech devices such as smartphones to reduce the exposure to blue lights before bed. Blue light filters can also be used on televisions and other screens, and you can set the filter to turn off during daytime hours and turn back on in the evening to help encourage the most optimal sleeping pattern. This way, you can still enjoy your favorite digital books without over-stimulating your brain with exposure to blue rays.
Light-Therapy Alarm Clock
Who wants to awaken to the sound of shrill beeping? Multiple alarm-clock makers now offer products that wake you with a warm, glowing light. Over the course of a set number of minutes, typically 30 minutes, these clocks gradually brighten, allowing the sleeper to be immersed in light.
Of course, despite the advances in home lighting technology, nothing beats living according to the rhythms of nature itself. Next time you are on vacation someplace remote (say, the beach or countryside getaway), consider minimizing your reliance on electric lighting for a day or two, and let natural light dictate your routine. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to sleep (and wake) when you follow the lead of the sun.