Is Your Lighting Affecting Your Sleep Schedule?
Switching out a few bulbs can help you create a more relaxing nighttime environment and resync your biological clock.
Did you know that humans have an internal clock that regulates their sleep patterns, energy levels and hunger? Located in the brain, this timekeeper mirrors the natural cycles of day and night, triggering different chemical reactions in the body.
How it works
In the morning, exposure to sunlight helps lower your melatonin levels and body temperature u2014 which makes you feel alert and awake. When natural light dwindles at night, your melatonin levels rise and your body temperature increases, preparing you for a deep, restful sleep.
These reactions would typically occur on schedule if people were only exposed to natural light, but workplaces with little natural light and poorly placed lightbulbs can complicate things u2014 especially your sleep schedule.
A study by the U.S. General Services Administration and Lighting Research Center found that office workers who were exposed to "a robust dose of circadian-effective light" in the morning experienced better sleep and lower levels of depression and stress than those who spent their mornings in dim or low light levels.
Choosing the right bulb
The type of light you encounter in different situations throughout the day can affect your sleep. An ongoing lack of sleep can lead to memory issues, weight gain, increased risk of health issues and poor concentration. That's why it's especially important to choose the right bulb for the right space.
A few things come into play when choosing bulbs:
- Color temperature: Measured in Kelvins (K), a bulb's temperature u2014 or tint u2014 ranges from warm to cool tones. A 2700 K bulb has a warm, yellowish hue similar to candlelight, while to 6000 K resembles cool, clear sunlight.
- Type of bulb: Fluorescent lamps typically emit a blue light, while LEDs come in a range of color temperatures. Color-tunable LEDs allow changing of color temperature throughout the day.
- Location: For your bedroom, it's better to go with warm-hued lights to promote healthier sleep patterns. But for a workspace, bulbs in the cool range typically mimic the effects of spending time in bright sunlight, helping you feel energetic and alert.
Though you can't control the type of light you're exposed to wherever you go, replacing some bulbs around your house can help. The light you're exposed to during the day can affect you in more ways than one. By making a few changes, you can have a more relaxing night and wake up ready to tackle each day.