What Color Light Is Best To Sleep With? For Adults And Baby
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You may have noticed that women tend to have more trouble sleeping than men and that can be a maddening fact! There are many ways to help get a good night's sleep, including light therapy. We'll take a look at what color light is best to sleep with in this article.
In fact, you're in good company with 1 in 4 women having some sort of insomnia challenge from struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or even both.
A first-of-its-kind study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed an average of 5.8% adults age 40 plus used prescription sleep aids (specific sleep medications and antidepressants with a sedating effect).
The good news is that it's possible to improve sleep onset and your tiring sleep pattern by using warm red light, which ends up being what color light is best to sleep with.
Risks associated with prescription sleep aids
Popping a pill to get that elusive night's sleep so you can function, be alert and productive the next day sounds like a great idea.
However, there are risks associated with the long-term use of prescriptions sleep aids and antidepressants:
Certainly, a prescription sleep aid may be just what you need to get over a hump or a temporary situation, but do you really want to rely on them to get what is a crucial bodily function?
How your body's sleep cycle works
We can't start our discussion about light therapy without first explaining how light exposure plays an important and vital part in our body's daily rhythms and rejuvenation.
If you suffer from sleep issues, then it could be that your body's circadian rhythm is off.
Everybody has a circadian rhythm, it's the 24-hour internal clock that signals to the body that it's time to be awake or it's time to sleep. The circadian rhythm flows with the natural daily light (sunrise) and dark cycles (sunset) of the earth.
Furthermore, natural light and dark exposure enters through the eyes and causes the brain to produce two chemicals, melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is the chemical for sleep and serotonin is the chemical produced when we are awake.
There are times when people's circadian rhythm can be thrown off and they may include depression, jet lag, working nights (not getting enough natural sunlight) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or circadian rhythm disorder.
Moreover, peri-menopause and menopause can also affect a woman's sleep cycle. Because during menopause and after your body produces less estrogen, your body temperature can go out of whack and so can your mood--all of which can affect your sleep cycles and quality.
In today's society, however, we are exposed to more artificial light (office buildings, TV, cell phones) than ever before and less natural light by being in the sun. Add on hormonal changes and daily behavior, you may find yourself unable to fall sleep or stay asleep.
A natural way to get a better night's sleep
As we mentioned, light exposure (or lack of light exposure) plays an important factor in your body's natural sleep pattern.
So what color light is best to sleep with? Well, it's definitely not blue!
Artificial blue light exposure is a shorter wavelength than warm red and is suspected of interfering with the production of melatonin. You'll find we're bombarded with blue light exposure in offices and what comes off our electronics and TV.
Add in in lifestyle choices like not being outside in the sunshine much or not getting enough exercise, and you can see why blue light can be a recipe for insomnia or other sleep disorders.
The good news is that sleep experts like the preferred color of red light as an excellent way to get your body back into balance and help you wake up refreshed and ready to go!
What color light is best to sleep with?
As light therapy has become more mainstream, many doctors are now recommending it to help get a patient's circadian rhythm back in balance.
Importantly, different light frequencies absorbed by your eyes produce different results.
For example, it's well documented that blue light with a shorter wavelength can negatively impact your body's melatonin production. Blue light tricks the brain into thinking it's still daylight time.
Obviously, you'll want to stay away from the phone, laptop and TV if you want to get a good night's sleep as they all emit blue light waves.
Actually, the preferred color red light wavelengths have been shown in studies to be the best color to use for sleep onset and staying asleep during the night.
Although more studies are needed, here are the reasons why this might be the best light choice for falling asleep and staying asleep:
- Studies show that red light might encourage melatonin production which will encourage sleep onset
- Red light can help stimulate the liver and increase estrogen levels
- it can help reduce levels of depression and anxiety and stress
A 2019 study showed that a group of people who work in an office environment exposed to a combination of red and ambient white light in the afternoon improved their circadian rhythm cycle and alertness after lunch.
As you can see, red light therapy appears to hold great promise to help your body get back into rhythm and to help generate those important chemicals that are required for a good night's sleep.
Other amazing benefits of red light therapy for sleep
Yes, red light therapy can be a great way to improve your sleep overall. But that's not all red light can help you with.
Other benefits of red light include:
Side effects of red light therapy
Unlike prescription medications or other approaches like alcohol, red light therapy (used as instructed) is not known to have any negative side effects.
Yes, when using infrared light, you will be a slight heat, but it's not enough to burn you.
Red light therapy sessions can be done for 10-20 minutes and multiple times a day with no reported adverse effects.
Does a red color light help a baby sleep?
For the same reasons we discussed previously, a red light does help a baby, child or teen sleep better.
What's a little different for children and young adults is the red light doesn't interfere with the production of melatonin (as opposed to helping the body to create more melatonin).
Interestingly though, many parents will use blue, green, white, pink or purple nightlights that actually slow down the production of the sleep hormone.
Of course, total darkness is probably the best option (if your child can tolerate that), but when tending to children during the night, it's good to have some light to see by.
Obviously red light isn't going to cure all your child's sleep troubles, but it can go a long way to help them sleep through the night.
When your child sleep well, then you know you'll sleep well too!
What color night light is best? Red!
How you can get red color light bulbs and devices
What we love is today, you can easily get a red light bulb, device or nightlight online to improve your sleep quality.
No need to go out to a spa or doctor's office, you can do as many treatments as you'd like from the comfort and convenience of your home.
Anyone who has struggled with getting restful, consistent sleep knows how frustrating it can be when it just won't come.
Modern medicine has created prescription medications that can help induce the brain into sleep and keep you there for the night--but at what risk?
So what color light is best to sleep with? Studies have shown that red light for adults and babies can help you both improve your sleep quality.
In addition, the red light benefits for adults goes beyond better sleep and it's easy to buy and cost effective.
Red light is the best color to sleep with and has no known side effects for adults or children. Don't put off getting your dose of restful sleep starting today!