How Does Light Affect Your Sleep?
Tips on Finding Sleep Faster
Did you know your reading lamp could be keeping you from finding sleep quickly? Or how about that your choice of the lightbulbs you use in your ceiling fan could be preventing you from hours of sleep a month? Lighting choices can harm sleep. The issue is not the light they produce, but rather the color of light they create.
Blue light, the same light that you have been cautioned about used in your electronic devices, is also produced by many common lighting choices. Blue light fools your body into stalling production of melatonin, a hormone secreted by your body to help slow things down and a part of the circadian rhythm (your body’s sleep/wake timer). The blue light issue is much more common this day and age due to the use of more and more lighting in our modern world. Everything from your headlights, to your kitchen fluorescent lighting, is putting out significant blue light, enough to possibly stifle your circadian rhythm and put off sleep for hours.
How do you escape harmful light?
If you’ve read any of our past blogs you have heard the term “Sleep Hygiene”. Sleep hygiene refers to ways you can help yourself stay on track to a healthy sleep pattern. One of the strongest points of sleep hygenie is to limit your blue light exposure at least two hours before bedtime. Limiting exposure means electronics need to be put away, or the use of blue light filters (common in most modern cell phones/tablets) need to be in place. You should also limit the usage of white/blue lighting in rooms you relax in before sleep. Seek a dimmer light bulb for your lighting. While energy efficient light bulbs are great for energy savings they are not that great for sleep. Most experts say finding a softer white CFB bulb and placing that light source at least 5 feet from your sleep space is the best choice. Five feet seems to be the area in which blue light falls away from the spectrum of light emission.
What about using a nightlight?
Using a nightlight is common for parents of children and for use in areas where you frequent in the dark. Science indicates the use of a red or pink nightlight bulb is perfect in keeping your sleep pattern in sync. These colors do not affect your wake cycle and are a safe choice for staying asleep.
What other lights are around the affect sleep?
The more connected we are as a society, the more light exposure we have throughout our homes. One common issue is the lighting emitted from our home wireless routers and wifi equipment. If it is at all possible, do yourself the huge favor of connecting this equipment out of your bedroom area. The constant blinking action of these lights is extremely disruptive to sleep and can unknowingly be causing you hours of lost sleep. If not possible to relocate this equipment consider using black tape to cover the blinking lights to eliminate the affecting glow.
Urban living causes much strife when it comes to having a light free sleep environment. Everything from headlights to store signs maybe causing over exposure to lights in your sleep space. In cases like this heavy curtains and blinds may be necessary. Use of window tint in dark tints is also an option. Another simple solution is to wear a sleep mask or eye mask. These masks require some getting used to, but most are very comfortable and block out all light.
Finding peace in your sleep
Sleep is not only necessary, but it is also a time to unwind and find peace after your long stressful day. Don’t let simple issues steal your valuable sleep and affect your long term health. Lighting is necessary, but we can all find workarounds to keep harmful light from our lives.
Please feel free to leave any suggestions and comments in the box below! Remember when you Sleep Well, you Live Well.
About the author:
Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, professionally trained sleep stores, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.