As someone who lives with a profound fear of the dark, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about how light affects my sleep. For instance, the black light that made my high-school era neon velvet posters glow isn’t optimum for bedtime. And like any chronic appsturbator knows, the blue light of your phone is all but guaranteed to keep you up. Ultimately, it’s a dark-horse contender that shines brightest for not disrupting your snooze game: scarlet bulbs. Even better, you can nab a red night light for only $10.
And research backs me up here. One 2013 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience tested the effects of different light wavelengths. Exposure to white and blue light increased depressive-like symptoms (in hamsters, not humans it should be noted—but keep an open mind here). But the hamsters exposed to red light? They were far better off, putting forth the idea that if you need to get a night light, the safest bet is to see red.
If you need to get a night light, the safest bet is to see red.
Another study, published in 2017 from the University of Haifa, investigated how different lights eff up our sleep schedule. The blue screen light, on average, shaved off 16 minutes of sleep time and slowed down the production of that sweet, sweet, melatonin. Red light, by contrast, which produces a very similar level of melatonin as total darkness does, was shown to not really disrupt circadian rhythms like other lights do. Basically, it’s an added insurance that a red night light won’t wake you up a million times in the middle of the night (and that switching your phone to Night Mode is the Right Move).
Of course, it’s a fair argument that the best light for sleep is probably no light, and there are, you know, blackout curtains available catering to that very school of thought. But if you can’t live and snooze in the dark (and I sure as hell can’t), red light is a surprising, soothing, and dare I say kind of sexy balm that’ll help you dream without conflict.
And at such low price point for the red night light, it’s worth ignoring Sting’s recommendation to not put on the red light. Or does he and the Police want Roxanne to put on the red light? That chorus has always confused me.
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