How Lighting Improves the Quality of Your Sleep

Feb 16, 2024 | Design

Good quality sleep is not just a period of rest, it is a fundamental human necessity which influences both our mental and physical wellbeing. Achieving regular, higher-quality sleep unlocks numerous benefits, such as reduced stress, increased energy and improved immune function. In this article, we explore the pivotal role bedroom lighting plays in optimising or compromising our sleep quality. Discover how to achieve the ideal bedroom lighting to meet your needs.

Here we explain how bedroom lighting can affect your rest.

How does light affect sleep?

Light and dark have the biggest impact on our circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process which regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on average every 24-hour hours. It controls various physiological and behavioural patterns.

As darkness falls, we naturally begin to feel more tired, this is caused by the release of a hormone from the pineal gland called melatonin. As we are exposed to increased measures of light, our levels of melatonin begin to drop, causing us to feel more alert and awake. Both natural and artificial lighting can trigger these responses. The levels of melatonin can be affected by several factors including the colour, brightness and direction of the light source.

What colour light is best for sleep?

The colour of the lighting can also affect our circadian rhythms. When referencing the colours of standard lighting, we describe the visual warmth or coolness of the light, ranging from warm tones resembling candlelight to cool, blue hues. We typically measure this in degrees kelvin (K). Warm colour temperatures are around 2700K to 3000K and cool, energized lighting is around 5000K to 6500K.

The best colour lighting to help you sleep is a warm light, which emits more red. A warmer light mimics the effect of a natural orangey sunset and instinctively encourages us to become sleepy. On the opposite end of the spectrum is cool or blue light. Although blue is often regarded as a calming colour, when it comes to light it is not ideal for use in bedrooms as it reduces the production of melatonin and messes with our sleep cycles. Electronic devices such as phones, laptops and televisions emit blue light, which is why it is recommended to avoid spending time on screens for at least an hour before you want to go to sleep.

How can bedroom lighting be controlled?

Investing in controls and smart lighting systems allows a tailored experience to meet your needs throughout the day. These systems allow you to effortlessly adjust brightness, colour temperatures and the overall ambience to meet your needs.

  • Dimmers: Reduce the light levels manually or have it set on a timer, allowing you to easily tailor the lighting effect of your bedroom. Adjusting the intensity of your lighting not only enhances the comfort of the ambience but also contributes to energy saving.
  • Photosensors: Photosensors control your lighting based on their measures of the ambient light conditions. While less commonly used indoors, they can be used as a useful tool for syncing artificial light with the natural light it detects. By monitoring the bedroom’s lighting conditions, photosensors can adjust your artificial lighting to maintain the environment based on your preferences.
  • Scene Setting: Why not consider predetermined scenes for your bedroom lighting? At the click of a button enter bedtime mode with cosy, warm lighting or change it up for a fresh bright wake-up in the mornings! Helping you feel alert and ready to face the day.

Explore the possibilities of lighting controls and how they can create personalised spaces, suited to your unique needs and preferences. Learn how to Elevate Your Space with Lighting Controls.

What types of lights are best for a bedroom?

Traditional bedroom designs have one central lighting point, usually on the ceiling, and often one or two bedside lamps. Avoid too bright a space and looking directly into a light when you go to lay down, by removing lights on the ceiling directly above the bed. Instead, position downlights on the ceiling around the edge of the room, allowing you to easily see when you need to rummage in your draws without throwing too much glare onto your bed.

Lamps around the bedroom are absolutely fine, they can create a cosy comforting glow ideal for the evenings, just plan the switches for these carefully so you don’t have to break from your resting state to turn them off. Alternatively, a low light output pendent will offer the same effect, without cluttering up your bedside space.

Why not also consider little wall-mounted reading lights on either side of the bed? These are neat and practical, especially for those sharing a bedroom. You can continue reading your unputdownable book, while your partner or roommate can get some great quality rest.

There is so much more to consider when planning the lights for your bedroom space. How many lights should I have? What are the appropriate light sources? How do I minimise shadows? Learn the answers to these questions and more with our Bedroom Lighting Tips Anyone Can Follow.

What else could I consider for better sleep?

  • Choosing the right lamp shade will diffuse the light and soften its effect, ideal for winding down before bed.
  • Use acoustic-rated light fittings. Acoustic lighting is specifically designed to provide a lighting solution and absorb sounds. There are some attractive acoustic light fittings already available, with more entering the market regularly as these solutions become increasingly desirable.
  • Sleeping in total darkness is best for reducing sleep disruptions. Consider using blinds on the windows to block external light from coming in.
  • Ensure that electronics are turned off or the settings are adjusted to minimise artificial light. Alternatively, consider wearing an eye mask when you sleep.
  • Avoid “blue light screens” at least an hour before bed, or use a blue light filter if you need to use your electronic devices.

Key Takeaways

To conclude, the lighting design of a bedroom considers a wide variety of factors. As we’ve explored, understanding the nuances of colour temperatures, harnessing technologies and controls, considering the types of lighting products and looking into additional lighting factors allows us to create an optimised and personalised sleep environment. Through this mindful consideration and lighting choices, we can adapt our bedrooms to improve and enhance the quality of our sleep and overall well-being.

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