You may know that exposure to different colors of light throughout the day has different effects on the human body: some good and some bad.
At the correct time, light can stimulate the mind and body, leading to alertness or at the wrong time, and sleeplessness.
But did you also know that we can control how we can let it affect us by controlling the color of the light and the time of day we expose ourselves to it by extension?
However, with light so conveniently placed on the tip of our fingers, turned on by the flick of a switch. No wonder we don’t pay much attention to how it can affect our well-being.
But we must pay attention, especially with rising cases of insomnia and depression linked to lack of sleep, and the presence of digital devices and screens emitting light.
Certain colors of light on the spectrum can have an effect on the body and affect the sleeping cycle. Red color strips can be relaxing and help to fall asleep because they are closest to the natural sunset color.
How Does Turned On Light Affect Your Sleep?
Light exposure at the wrong time of the day, negatively alters our body’s natural internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm.
Changes to the clock due to light exposure can delay the naturally pre-programmed relaxing of our muscles, drop in body temperature, and feeling of drowsiness.
All of this is controlled by the release of the sleep hormone called “melatonin.”
The more melatonin your body produces, the sleepier you feel.
Due to increased light pollution, when you eventually go to sleep, it is difficult for your brain to achieve a deeper, restful sleep.
The kind of sleep that wakes you up energized and satisfied with your rest the next morning!
A vital thing about deep sleep is that it repairs the body and brain and allows muscles to recover, and in children, sleep promotes growth.
You essentially become Wolverine during the night!
And that’s not the end of it. Knowing how critical sleep is for the good functioning of the human body, you can understand how lack of it can lead to other long term problems as well:
Depression: People with insomnia have greater depression and anxiety than those who can get a good night’s rest.
They are 10 times more likely to have clinical depression. Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on a person’s mood and outlook on life.
Obesity: A 16 year study shows that women who slept 5 hours or less had a 15% higher chance of becoming obese. Short sleepers had a 30 percent higher risk of gaining 30 pounds compared to women who got 7 hours of sleep.
Accidents: People who consistently had troubled sleep caused increased car accidents, and studies have equated the lack of reaction time of sleep deprived people to that of drunk drivers’.
What Are The Best Colors Of Night Light For Sleeping?
You might be wondering if all light is equally bad?
Various colors of light have a different degree of effect, even within the spectrum of light. So let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
Blue light is the most detrimental to our natural circadian rhythm, our biological sleep cycle. And unfortunately, we are surrounded by blue light in the form of two primary sources.
The first source is the lit-up screens of electronic devices like mobile phones, TVs, monitors, and tablets.
The second is the energy-efficient light bulbs like fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs. The latter produces a fair amount of light in the blue spectrum.
Now for the good news, with which you can paint the town red! Red light does not have the same effect as other light on our sleep and melatonin levels.
Exposure to red light has two significant benefits:
Firstly, using a red light will have the least unfavorable effect on melatonin levels. Install dimmed red lights throughout the home towards the evening and as night lights when you wake up for a trip to the bathroom or kitchen.
Secondly, some studies, in fact, proved the positive effects of red light therapy.
For example, sleeping in red light is known to have improved the quality of sleep, melatonin level, and the next day’s endurance of elite female basketball players.
The reason for this unwavering effect is that the cells on the retina of our eyes are least sensitive to a red light and most sensitive to blue light.
From the retina, the signals go to the brain, affecting mood and sleep.
What about other colors of light around us?
Is Green Light Good For Sleeping?
Similar to blue light, green light harms the natural release of melatonin, although not as adverse as blue light.
The effect of green light is similar when we are first exposed to it, but the effects die off more quickly over time.
While blue light can suppress melatonin for about 3 hours, green light throws it off by only half that is for a maximum of 1.5 hours.
So it’s still not jarring as blue light can be, but like being exposed to blue and other colored lights, green isn’t all that great either.
Is Purple Good For Sleep?
When you look at the light spectrum, you will see a pattern emerging of how the different colors affect sleep.
Violets, or light purple, is the closest color to the ultra-violet wavelength, followed by blue, with green in the middle, and red is the farthest away from ultra-violet, becoming infrared light as the wavelength increases.
Incidentally, violet color has the most detrimental effect on the human circadian system, throwing off melatonin release and suppressing it the most, followed by blue color.
Avoid this color at all costs after sundown if you love your sleep!
Most Relaxing Evening Light Colors
As the sun sets, it gives off the familiar red-orange glow and fills our surroundings by the warm colors.
For the human body, this red is a natural color that brings calm and a feeling of relaxation and drowsiness as the day ends, and melatonin slowly gets released, preparing us for a good night’s rest.
That is why it makes sense when we surround ourselves with warm-reddish hues of light in the evening and throughout the night.
It is the closest color to nature’s way of putting us to sleep.
Now you know a fair bit about how blue light helps make us feel naturally energized in the morning, while red light sends signals to our body to get it ready for calm and rest.
Throwing it off by turning on any colored light, especially violet or blue light, will interfere with your short term sleeping lifestyle, and in the long term, bring about health problems and medical conditions.
- Have you had trouble falling asleep and stayed awake scrolling your phone?
- Do you make special arrangements to avoid unnecessary light exposure after the sun sets?