Light affects our bodies in many ways, particularly our sleep patterns. The light we are exposed to during the day can help us stay awake and alert, while exposure to blue light at night can disrupt our natural sleep cycle.
There are a variety of LED lights on the market that claim to be beneficial for sleep, but not all colors of light are created equal. Here is a look at the best LED light colors for sleep, according to science.
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It’s interesting to note that the colors associated with a sunset and the ending of a day and the beginning of the night, are the calming colors that are best for sleep.
These colors help to signal to our brains that it is time to wind down and prepare for rest.
It’s only been in recent times that science began to understand more about the human body’s circadian rhythms and how light affects these rhythms. The body has a natural cycle of becoming awake, being alert and retaining that alertness, resting, and sleeping.
The big recent discovery was understanding that a receptor in the brain is directly linked to the eye and the body clock, taking signals by color to release or suppress the hormone melatonin to cause a body to become more awake or to wind down.
This amazing discovery has allowed us to change the way we light our homes and workplaces for better productivity, improved health, and most importantly a good night’s rest.
While any color light can technically be used at night, certain colors are more effective than others in promoting healthy sleep. Further reading on Circadian Biology will give you an greater understanding on just how receptive the human body is to light.
So the answer to what is the best color of light to sleep with is those that mimic the natural progression of sunlight throughout the day. These colors help to signal to our brains that it is time to wind down and prepare the body for rest.
Some of the best LED light colors for sleep include:
These colors have a lower color temperature, which means they emit less blue light. Blue light is known to suppress the production of melatonin, that important hormone that prepares our bodies for night rest and essential replenishment.
While white light also has a lower color temperature, it is not as effective as these other colors. This is because white light contains all the colors of the spectrum, including blue light so certain shades of white light can be more disruptive than others.
Red light is one of the most commonly recommended LED light colors for sleep. Red light has been shown to improve its quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
You can nod off easier if you switch to a red light a few hours before going to bed and if you wake up during the night, being exposed to red light will make it easier for you to fall back asleep rather than being exposed to normal white light which contains other colors that will stimulate alertness.
Red light bulbs are widely available and relatively inexpensive. You can also find red LED lights that can be used as a nightlight or you can also set a red color from a smart LED light bulb fitted within a table lamp.
Amber light is another color of light that is beneficial for sleep. Amber light exposure has been shown to increase melatonin levels and improve your night rest’s quality. One study found that amber light improved sleep quality in shift workers, where some Danish nurses slept better after working in an amber lit environment.
If you have trouble sleeping during the day or if you work at night, amber light may be a good option for you. Amber light bulbs are widely available and relatively inexpensive or you can also set an amber color from a smart LED light bulb fitted within a table lamp.
Yellow light is another good option as it has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Yellow is amongst the colors that has less blue in the mix.
Blue light, on the other hand, should be avoided at night. You should avoid blue light at least an hour before you want to go to bed.
You can do this by avoiding screens such as TVs, computer monitors and smart phones.
Studies have found that blue light will supress melatonin and exposure at night can also cause glare, eye fatigue and delay the body’s internal que to rest. If you’re looking for an LED light to help you stay awake then blue light is the best option but avoid blue light at least an hour before you want to go to bed to help your body prepare for sleep.
White light contains all colors of the visible spectrum and has been shown to improve alertness and cognitive performance. White light is a good option for daytime use but should be avoided at night.
So now you know which color light is best for sleeping, when is the best time to begin to use them?
The best time to start using these LED light colors for sleep is a few hours before you want to go to bed, so consider where you are at this time and what you are doing.
Choose the room where you relax in or work in a couple of hours before bedtime, such as your living room or bedroom, to get the most benefit from these bulbs. Be prepared to change your existing light bulbs or at the very least how much light that is coming from them, a good 2 hours before your plan to go to bed.
You can use specific amber light bulbs that block blue light in your entire house. This will provide you with enough brightness and color, while still protecting you from harmful blue light. You can replace common light bulbs in your house with these amber bulbs, which will give you a warm and relaxing atmosphere with a color temperature of 1800K.
If you work at night, amber light may be a better option for you. Make sure you have turned on the nighttime setting on your PC or laptop, which takes out the blue from the white light of the screen.
You can also use a yellow light bulb in your lamp to provide a calming and relaxing atmosphere in your room.
Red light bulbs that emit no blue or green light are slightly dimmer. These bulbs are best for bedrooms and bathrooms, where you might need a light to read or see at night. The red light will give off a deep orange to red glow, which can help you get a good night’s rest.
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? You’re not alone and as we have seen, one reason may be the type of light they’re exposed to before going to bed. Consider a sleep diet in the final hours of the day, be careful how much blue and crispy white light you are exposed to.
By using an LED strip that can adapt it’s color, you can create any atmosphere you want in your room. You can use a white light for daytime and then change it to an amber light a few hours as your evening progresses towards the night.
A smart light bulb placed in a table lamp will give you the most control over the color of light in your room. You can set an amber or red color from a smart LED light bulb fitted within a table lamp and all easily controlled from your smart phone that is always by your side.
Specific blue light blocking bulbs are available that will give off a yellow/orange light. These can be used in any room where you want to reduce blue light exposure. These specialist lamps can be placed on a bedside table or desk so you can work in the evening without being exposed to blue light.
A book light is a small, portable and battery-powered LED light that can be clipped to a book or placed on a bedside table. These are ideal for reading in bed without disturbing your partner. Many book lights now come with an amber LED option, which will help you avoid blue light exposure before bedtime.
This is a small, portable LED light that can be placed on a bedside table. These are ideal for providing a soft, calming light in the evening without disturbing your partner. Many now come with an amber LED option, which will help you avoid blue light exposure before bedtime.
A red night light is a small plug in LED light that can be placed near the floor in the wall. These are ideal for providing a soft, calming light in the evening without disturbing your partner. Red light has been shown to be helpful in reducing anxiety and promoting sleep.
Whilst candles are not recommended as they can be a fire hazard if you do use them make sure to blow them out before you go to bed or use LED tea lights as a safer option. Placing a few around your room can create a calming atmosphere with an amber glow.
So there are many different types of LED lights that can be used to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere in your room. To get the best night’s sleep, it is important to avoid exposure to blue light in the evening. This means using amber or red LED lights instead of white or blue lights.
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