Light doesn't just help you see better and add visuals to a room; it can also have psychological and biological effects on the body. The absence of light makes sleeping more effortless, as humans are designed to sleep at night (despite some of our nocturnal habits).
However, particular light and light colors can positively affect us while sleeping. Light affects the circadian rhythm, the sleep-wake cycle, and melatonin production to contribute to better sleep health. Read on to learn about the effects of light on your sleep health, and even your mood, wellbeing, and cognition!
Qualities of Light In Relation To Color
Certain qualities determine the effect light will have on your body. It is important to understand these qualities to analyze how the lights around your home influence your mood, alertness, sleep, and overall health.
This is the amount of light produced by a bulb or candle. The brightness of a lamp is highly linked to its effect on our emotions. Brighter lights tend to affect our sleep poorly, making it difficult to achieve a restful night's sleep.
The hue of light is the shade or color of the light. Have you ever heard of blue-light lenses for when you are frequently using technological devices before bed? Artificial light tends to be a blue or white hue, and natural light tends to be in a red or amber hue.
The saturation of light is the intensity of the hue. For instance, if you have a blue light, the more intensely you can see the color blue, the more saturated it is. Saturated lights appear dimmer and have a lessened effect on our sleep quality.
Blue or White Light
Blue and white lights tend to be associated with artificial lighting, contributing to poor sleep health. Blue or white light is excellent for increasing alertness and making us feel more awake. Brain cells are more sensitive to blue light wavelength, so even blind people can be affected by it, even if they cannot see the color.
Red or Amber Light
Red or amber light can make us sleepy by affecting our circadian rhythm. Lights in a red or amber hue can also stimulate the production of melatonin - the sleep hormone. Red and amber light, which can be produced by candles and fairy lights in warm tones, can improve our mood and stimulate a sense of ease and calm.
What are Light’s Effects on Mood and Sleep?
Light can have a powerful effect on mood and sleep due to photosensitive cells in the eyes called ipRGC cells. These cells pick up signals given off by the light and use them to control your circadian rhythm (also known as your body's internal clock).
Overhead Intense Direct Light
Overhead intense direct light stimulates the ipRGC cells and causes your body to become more alert and awake. It may also bring on feelings of tension, anxiety, and stress. You will find that your energy increases with the presence of overhead intense direct light. This kind of light can be from the sun, or it can be artificial bright overhead lights.
Low Overhead Light (Warm Colors)
The low overhead light in warm colors is known to have a calming effect on the mind, making us feel more relaxed and at ease. Ever had dinner in a dimly lit restaurant? Low overhead lighting can also help you to feel more connected and engaged with those around you.
Bright Light (Cool Colors)
Bright lighting in cool colors like blue light can stimulate the mind and increase focus. Bright blue light can also provide more mental clarity, so it is used in technological devices to help us concentrate on the information presented on the screen. However, cool color light is not recommended before sleep, as it can confuse the ipRGC cells and cause your circadian rhythm to become out of sync.
What Color Light Helps You Sleep? Best Color Lights Based on Science Facts
The best color lights for helping you sleep are red lights. A 2018 study was performed on both children and adults, exposing them to yellow and blue light to find how it affected their sleep quality. The study showed that these lights negatively affected the circadian rhythm and caused poor sleep quality.
Another study was performed on a group of 20 female basketball players. Those exposed to 30 minutes of nighttime red light therapy had improved sleep quality and melatonin levels.
Red light is simply a color that can help promote melatonin production and induce relaxation. It is worth considering adding red light exposure to your nighttime routine with some night lights and reducing the amount of time you spend on your mobile device before you go to sleep.
Benefits of Red Light for Sleep
Here are some of the benefits you can receive from using red night lights before going to sleep! BluZen offers diffusers with built-in LED lighting to help you achieve a restful night's sleep while inhaling our quality essential oils.
Higher Melatonin Production
The wavelengths produced by red light are beneficial for stimulating melatonin production. Melatonin is often referred to as the sleep hormone produced more when your body is exposed to darkness and produced less when your body is exposed to bright lights.
Decreases Chances of Sleep Inertia
Ever feel groggy and struggle to wake up in the morning? This is a condition called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia can cause you to feel less alert and can cause decreased concentration throughout the day. Red light can reduce the occurrence of sleep inertia when a red light is present during the night.
Promotes Muscle Relaxation
Red light can promote muscle relaxation, as red light helps stimulate the blood flow, providing oxygen for areas in the body that have been deprived of oxygen throughout the day. This promotes muscle relaxation and can even be a valuable treatment for restless leg syndrome.
Installing a red night light can be a valuable solution to poor sleep health, restless leg syndrome, and sleep inertia. You can also improve your sleep quality by limiting your use of blue-light devices before bedtime.
BluZen is a family-run business that prides itself on providing essential oils and other products to help customers take a holistic approach to their health and wellbeing. Our quality essential oils are designed to promote relaxation and mental wellbeing for all.