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Falling asleep can be just as hard as getting up for the day; it’s easier said than done. We all know that insufficient sleep can lead to several health issues. There are many factors that interrupt sleep, whether it is your surroundings or the amount of melatonin your body produces. These can impact your sleep cycle.

Having a cozier space for sleeping also contributes to sleep hygiene. The better your environment is for sleep, the faster you can fall asleep. One helpful way to solve this is to tweak your room’s light color to improve your sleep quality. Knowing the best color light for sleep can help produce a better ambiance for the perfect night’s rest.

Here’s a guide to help you find what lights are the best for sleep!

The Relationship between light Quality and Color

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Our eyes register information like aesthetics and objects, recognizing that colors impact our emotions by sending signals to our nervous system. It makes it clear that they could either soothe or alert us. We can benefit from this by learning how light plays a part when combined with color to influence our bodies.

Finding the right balance of light and color lets you experience visual comfort, a state where your mind is uninterrupted by your surroundings. Lights and colors can be soft to the eye when they reflect or retract one another when bouncing on surfaces. But when it comes to light quality, there is color temperature.

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Color temperature pertains to how cold or warm light is. Low color temperatures are warm tones which are red-yellow, while the highest are cool tones which are blue-white. In a nutshell, the cooler tone means the higher the temperature’s intensity.

That said, light quality means how much energy is absorbed by objects such as lamps or light bulbs. Light released from color temperatures can affect us psychologically and physically, especially when we sleep.

Colored Lighting Effects

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Aside from aesthetics, studies tell us that the color of lights can affect our sleep-wake cycle by blue light waves from devices that alert us to productivity. But there are also benefits to using colored lighting! The light helps you sleep by influencing your mood based on the color light in your room. Our body clock, a type of circadian rhythm that allows changes within us, signals our body for sleep, but there are other external factors that can prevent this.

Using the wrong wavelength or color light can leave you more awake. But the right color lights can help you feel sleepy by sending signals to your nervous system to feel calmer, letting your body doze off.

Best Colors for Sleep

Red Light

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Despite the intimidating aura of red lights, their wavelengths are the softest and release the least amount of radiation from the color temperature spectrum.

Red wavelengths were first said to not affect the circadian rhythm. However, a study that conducted Red light therapy on 20 Chinese female basketball players showed improvements in their melatonin levels and sleeping quality after 14 days.

Another experiment on mice found that 10 lux or higher intensity red lights can induce sleepiness, supporting the findings of the first study on red light’s influence on sleep.

Red light’s light quality is scientifically encouraged as an ideal night light.

Yellow Light

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Close to red light wavelengths, yellow lights release low UV Rays and have little effect on our circadian rhythms as adults. If you’re a light sleeper who needs to wake up often, then a yellow-orange hue is perfect for subtle lighting.

However, yellow light is found to lessen the melatonin production of babies. Children have higher melatonin suppression than adults, making it harder to stay asleep.

Nonetheless, Yellow-Orange dim lights are less harmful to adults.

Worst Colors for Sleep

Blue light

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This color light helps you feel alert and stimulates brain activity during the day by elevating blood temperature and heart rate, but it poses health problems during the night.

Blue wavelengths are the highest intensity in the color temperature, making it harder for your eyes to relax due to the UV rays it releases. Blue lights can trick our minds into thinking it’s early morning. Electronic devices such as smartphones, PCs, Fluorescent bulbs, and LED lights emit blue light that suppresses melatonin release in our body.

This light source is also harmful to babies, similar to bright yellow lights. But blue light’s color temperature proves dangerous to our circadian rhythms that play a vital part in all our body’s systems. With the melatonin interruption, multiple health issues can develop, especially depression.

On the other hand, Blue light can still be a preferred color light by others who may find it relaxing.

It’s still hard to have restful sleep if your mind feels awake from the overwhelming amount of blue light that accelerates your heartbeat at the worst time.

Violet Light

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Violet light is the second highest color intensity next to blue light. It also contributes to alertness and increases heart rate similarly, but not as fast, as Blue. While a study that tested violet wavelengths on Zebrafish concerning human findings discovered that Violet light stimulates locomotor activities like walking, running, marching, etc.

While there is still much more to wrap our head around the unique effect of Violet light on the human body compared to blue and white lights, we can agree that this cold tone is not the best option if you’re trying to hit the hay.

Green Light

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Green may be a natural hue, but it slowly falls into a colder temperature area with violet and blue, in contrast to its relaxing color symbolism. Green lights also reduce melatonin release and promote alertness in the body.

A research team at Oxford University compared the effect of green, blue, and violet lights on sleep quality. They concluded that green light induced wakefulness slower than violet and blue.

Other shades like blue-green light and other bright lights that fall under cooler temperatures can also cause alertness and higher intensity when combining the different colors. It may be pleasing to the eye, but it may not be the best option for sleeping.

Green lights may be in the middle of the Color temperature spectrum but are recognized more for their melatonin suppressing abilities, making them a less preferable artificial light for sleep.

White light

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Despite not being as cold as blue lights, a white light still promotes productivity which can distract you from sleeping. Turning on white lights often signal to get out of bed or is ideal for reading. It’s the perfect light to help you through the day by boosting your alertness and mood. But during the night, it’s better to choose dim warm colors to give you a good night’s sleep.

There are colorful lights that emit a calming effect and others that encourage acceleration. All lights have their own use, but knowing the most relaxing light colors for you can go a long way for your well-being, especially your sleep cycle.

Dim lights are more calming than bright light.

Other tips

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Building a healthier lifestyle to achieve better sleeping hygiene is always important. There are habits to cut off and practices to grow from. Here are some quick tips to consider:

Minimize these habits:

  • Tossing and turning in bed.
  • Eating heavy meals before bedtime.
  • Drinking caffeine and smoking during the afternoon.
  • Having long naps throughout the day

Practices that are encouraged:

  • Have your daily dose of sunlight to drive your sleep-wake circadian rhythms.
  • Exercise during the day to spend more energy to fall asleep quickly.
  • Invest in an organic mattress for healthier bedding that will not attract bacteria and other irritants. This can also lessen the tendency to toss and turn.
  • Use blackout curtains to avoid any light that can disrupt your sleep.
  • Give yourself 30 minutes to wind down into a calming state before going to bed.
  • Strictly follow a fixed sleeping routine.
  • Change your bed covers at least once a week to avoid itchiness or irritation in bed.
  • Keep devices away from your bed as far as possible.

Final thoughts

Finding what night lights are best for us can be tricky with all the different colors; it can make you think that it would be more practical to leave everything pitch black. But adding a little bit of light can also relax our eyes.

All colors have different wavelengths that affect our bodies, especially our mental health. You can choose whichever color for bedroom walls you wish, but the best night lights can make a big difference for better sleep.

References (already hyperlinked in texts)

https://soa.utexas.edu/sites/default/disk/urban_ecosystems/urban_ecosystems/09_03_fa_kwallek_riosvelasco_ml.pdf

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/color.html

https://www.sleepadvisor.org/best-nightlight-color/

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/role-melatonin-circadian-rhythm-sleep-wake-cycle

https://www.sleepcycle.com/sleep-science/the-stages-of-sleep/

https://blogs.umass.edu/abowersox/files/2015/02/Understanding-Light-Quality-CT-and-CRI.pdf

https://jdsaa.journals.ekb.eg/article_216175_4c65891ee5ffb865f3ef147c3ef7e1bb.pdf

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/825257v1.full

https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-06-09-lighting-colour-affects-sleep-and-wakefulness

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01580/full

https://www.healthline.com/health/best-color-light-for-sleep#for-babies-and-children