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What Color Light Helps You Sleep: The Ultimate Guide

Published by Chris Riley on May 25, 2023

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, the color of the light in your environment can play a crucial role. Understanding what color light helps you sleep better is essential for creating a sleep-friendly space. So let’s explore how different colors can impact your sleep quality and which one is recommended by experts.

What Color Light Helps You Sleep

Our body responds to a hormone called melatonin, which primarily regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Light exposure, particularly artificial and blue light, can have a significant impact on its production. Blue light, usually emitted by electronic devices, can confuse your body and suppress melatonin production, keeping you awake and alert at night. That’s why it’s often recommended to avoid using screens before bed.

One color that’s considered helpful for sleep is red light. Although all colors can impact melatonin production to some extent, red light is the least disruptive. It’s believed that red light doesn’t suppress melatonin production as much as other wavelengths, allowing your body to naturally wind down and prepare for sleep. Incorporating red or amber light in your bedroom or sleep routine may help improve sleep quality and make falling asleep easier.

What light colours are best for sleep?

Light colours that are best for sleep tend to be in the warm spectrum, such as soft yellows, oranges, and reds. These warm tones mimic the natural sunset and promote relaxation, helping to signal the body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Effects of Different Light Colors on Sleep

When it comes to sleep, the effects of various light colors cannot be overstated. Let’s explore how different light colors impact our sleep quality.

How Blue Light Influences Melatonin

Discovering the role blue light plays in our sleep may be the key to improving our night’s rest. I’ve found that understanding how blue light influences melatonin production can make a significant difference in sleep quality.

Melatonin is a critical hormone that our bodies naturally produce to aid in sleep. It’s responsible for regulating our circadian rhythm, or internal clock. Our bodies start producing melatonin in the evening, preparing us for sleep, and the production decreases as morning comes.

One major factor that affects melatonin production is light, specifically blue light. Blue light wavelengths are emitted naturally by the sun, but are also found in our electronic devices, televisions, and LED lights. When we’re exposed to blue light in the evening, it can suppress melatonin production and disrupt our sleep patterns.

Studies have indicated that exposure to blue light in the hours leading up to bedtime correlates with a decrease in melatonin production. Below is a markdown table showcasing the impact of blue light exposure:

Exposure TimeMelatonin Reduction
1 hour23%
2 hours38%
3 hours50%

To understand the effects of blue light on melatonin, consider the following points:

  • The source of blue light is crucial. Sunlight, which contains blue light, is beneficial during daytime hours as it boosts alertness and elevates mood. However, devices like smartphones, computers, and TVs emit blue light that can disrupt sleep if exposure occurs close to bedtime.
  • Blue light has different frequencies. Not all blue light is harmful; shorter wavelengths (with higher frequencies) tend to disrupt melatonin production more effectively.
  • Age matters. Older people might be less sensitive to blue light, meaning they experience fewer sleep disturbances due to blue light exposure.

To minimize blue light’s impact on melatonin and improve sleep, I suggest implementing these sleep-friendly habits:

  • Use blue light blocking glasses in the evening while using screens.
  • Install apps and software that reduce blue light emissions from devices.
  • Enforce a “digital curfew”, cutting off screen time at least an hour before bed.
  • Use warm-toned light bulbs in bedrooms and sleep spaces.

By understanding how blue light influences melatonin production, we can take simple steps to ensure a better night’s sleep and aid our body’s natural processes.

Is blue or red light better for sleep?

Red light is generally considered better for sleep compared to blue light. Blue light, often emitted by electronic devices and energy-efficient light bulbs, can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Red light has less impact on melatonin production, making it a more sleep-friendly choice.

The Benefits of Red and Orange Light

When it comes to sleep, red and orange light wavelengths hold the key to a more restful night. Many sleep enthusiasts have embraced these colors as an essential element of their bedtime routine. Here are some of the ways red and orange light can benefit your sleep:

Melatonin Production: Red and orange light doesn’t interfere with our body’s production of melatonin – the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is typically suppressed by blue light that’s emitted by electronic devices and energy-efficient lighting. Low light levels of red and orange spectrum help promote sleepiness by allowing our bodies to produce more melatonin.

Circadian Rhythm Regulation: As mentioned earlier, exposure to red and orange light can help regulate our circadian rhythm, the natural internal clock that tells us when to wake up, sleep, and eat. By using these light colors in the evening, we can signal our bodies that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Stress Reduction: Exposure to red and orange light can also help reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep. It’s thought that these wavelengths tend to have a calming effect on our nervous system. They may even stimulate the release of endorphins, the mood-regulating chemicals that help elevate our mood and combat stress.

Here’s some data showing why red and orange light is essential for a good night’s sleep:

BenefitLight Colors
Melatonin ProductionRed, Orange
Circadian Rhythm RegulationRed, Orange
Stress ReductionRed, Orange

Incorporating red or orange light into your sleep routine is doable with a few simple changes:

  • Replace Blue Light-emitting Devices: Swap out electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and computer screens in your bedroom for red or orange light-emitting alternatives, such as red LED nightlights or Himalayan salt lamps.
  • Get a Sleep-friendly Alarm Clock: Opt for an alarm clock that uses red or orange lighting. These alarm clocks can gently trigger a wakeup by gradually increasing light intensity, mimicking dawn’s natural progression.
  • Use a Red Light App on Devices: If you can’t avoid using electronic devices before bed, install red or amber light filter apps that can minimize the blue light emitted from the screen.

I hope this information provides valuable insights for fellow sleep enthusiasts interested in enhancing their bedtime experience with the power of red and orange light.

What Color Light Helps You Sleep Better?

Warm colors such as soft yellows, oranges, and reds can help you sleep better. These colors create a soothing and calming environment, promoting relaxation and signaling the body that it’s time to rest. Using dim and warm lighting before bedtime can help prepare the mind and body for a restful sleep.

What color light is most relaxing?

Soft, cool tones like light blues and greens are often considered the most relaxing colors. These colors are associated with tranquility and can create a calming atmosphere. However, personal preferences may vary, and what feels relaxing to one person may not be the same for another. Experimenting with different colors and finding what works best for your relaxation and sleep is key.

Final Thoughts on Light Color and Sleep

Throughout this article, I’ve explored the relationship between light color and sleep quality. It’s important to remember that not all light colors affect sleep in the same way, and the best light color for sleep can vary from person to person. Let’s review the main takeaways:

  • Red, amber, and orange lights are the most sleep-friendly options, as they emit the least amount of blue light. Blue light can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep.
  • Although it’s highly stimulating, blue light does have its advantages, such as helping you feel alert and focused during the day. As sunset approaches, reduce your exposure to blue light by changing your environment, using blue light blocking glasses, or installing screen filters.
  • Experimenting with different light colors in your bedroom can help you optimize your sleeping environment. Incorporating dimmable lights that allow you to control the intensity and hue might be worth considering.
  • If you’re having trouble falling asleep, consider using a red night light instead of brighter, bluer lights. A red night light can help you navigate your home without disturbing your sleep patterns.

Everyone’s sleep preferences are different, but various studies highlight the importance of minimizing blue light exposure before bedtime. Red, amber, and orange lights can create a more relaxing environment that promotes restful sleep. It’s vital to be mindful of your exposure to different light colors throughout the day and adjust your environment to better support healthy sleep habits.

References and Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499892/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6506010/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1896724/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6062196/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5443998/

https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002482

https://sciencemadefun.net/blog/this-color-night-light-is-best-for-sleep-the-color-will-surprise-you/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244014525423

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120989/

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