Choosing Bedroom Light: How It Affects Sleep, Backed By Science
If you’re reading this, you know that sleep is important for you.
The mounting body of research on sleep continues to point to the importance of sleeping well.
In so many ways, having a good night’s sleep is critical. It helps our bodies to rejuvenate, improve our immunity, and improve our cognitive performance.
One of the important elements in having a good sleep is your sleeping environment. When it comes to sleep, the little things around us do make a lot of difference.
Take for example when you’re traveling across timezones.
The mere switch of timezones can impact your circadian rhythm and affect the quality of sleep you get.
The circadian rhythm is our body’s timekeeper for sleep. It helps our bodies to respond to environmental cues which informs our bodies to feel sleepy or awake.
Here’s the point: our environment impacts the quality of sleep we get. And one of choosing bedroom light is one of them. I’ll explain so read on.
How does bedroom light affect sleep?
In one study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School investigated the impact of exposure to bedroom light before sleeping.
Their findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endriconlogy & Metabolism.
The researchers found that bedroom light exerts a profound suppressive effect on melatonin levels.
Melatonin is a hormone in the body that enables us to fall asleep and wake up. Bedroom light can also shorten the body’s internal representation of night duration.
In other words, if you expose yourself to light late at night, this could interrupt the body’s sleep mechanism and affect your sleep quality.
But that’s not all.
How does bedroom light affect our state of mind?
Another study in the American Journal of Epidemiology investigated how bedroom lights can affect the state of mind.
The researchers measured bedroom light levels in a study that included 863 elderly adult participants.
Participants placed ceiling-facing light meters at the heads of their beds for two nights.
The goal was to enable them to determine as closely as possible, the light they would see while going to sleep.
Researchers also received the sleep diaries of participants for 2 nights and over two years tracked the emergence of depression symptoms through surveys.
The researchers found a strong association between even low-level nighttime light exposure and depressive symptoms among elderly adults.
The caution here is to not expose yourself to bright light before bedtime.
What is the best light color for your bedroom?
Several studies have linked blue light to our circadian rhythm and sleep disorders. Different light colors have a different impact.
When you’re choosing a bedroom light, there are two main kinds of light: blue light and red light.
In general, blue light is helpful during the day because it stimulates our mood, attention, and energy.
But it can also be detrimental at night when we want to wind down and have a restful sleep.
One study by Harvard researchers compared how blue light and green light impacts the circadian rhythm after six and a half hours of exposure.
The findings suggest that blue light is twice as likely to repress melatonin and disrupt our circadian rhythm compared to green light.
Here’s the thing: many years ago, when humans did not have electricity, the natural source of light was the sun.
And when the sunset, humans spent their night time in relative darkness.
But today, with the surge in devices and multiple screens, we spend our evenings looking at light from screens.
Here are a couple of actions you can take so you get a good night sleep so you remain rested through the night
Choose dim bedroom lights. As we’ve discussed, it’s best to stay away from bright light at night.
Choosing bedroom light might not be the top of your list, but it indeed matters a lot.
If you cannot have a dark bedroom while you sleep, consider using red rights.
Red lights, unlike blue lights, can help influence your circadian rhythm and stave off melatonin.
Start a screen curfew. Staring at blue light screens, whether on a tablet, your phone or your laptop is an enemy of good sleep.
One way is to set a time (preferably around 2 to 3 hours before sleep) where you shut down all devices or store them away from you.
This way, you eliminate the temptation to click and stare at a screen.