Should You Sleep With The Light On For Better Sleep?

Heather Clouse
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Is It Better To Sleep in a Dark Room?

People sleep better in the dark. It’s normal to feel scared in the dark. It’s also normal to find it hard to turn the lights off.

Our ancestors slept in total darkness for millions of years. Nowadays, our days are lit up by bright lights. This means that our bodies and minds are adapted to being active by day and sleeping by night.

To get better sleep at night, reduce the level of light coming into your room. Ideally, the room should be pitch black. You should also close the curtains or shades to make sure that no lights from outside are going to affect your slumber.

Try to have a room that’s as dark as possible. Get rid of any electronics that may be glowing from across the room. This includes your clock or computer screen. It’s easier to not disturb your sleep by turning the screen off than turning it down to minimum brightness.

If you read in bed, a book light or a small white light won’t bother your sleep.

Set the electronics to their highest brightness in the daytime so that they don’t impair your sleep at night.

If you have trouble sleeping in a completely black room, you can install a red night light. The red light is less likely to prevent you from falling into deep sleep.

When To Use a Night Light

Night falls and suddenly you start looking for a light switch.

But then you tell yourself, “I should probably turn the lights off and save on the energy bill.” But you find that turning on the lights upsets your sleep schedule and makes you feel even more tired.

So in the end, you do what a lot of people do in similar situations: you keep the lights on.

But is this doing more harm than good? Let’s find out!

The idea that keeping lights on at night helps you sleep better is more outdated than people think.

The claim may have made sense back in the days when people didn’t have light bulbs and slept communally in a room lit by a few candles. But in today’s world, when we invite electric light into our space throughout the day and night, we’re messing with our bodies and circadian rhythm (our internal clock).

When the sun sets, the body starts preparing itself for sleep. During this time, the body diligently shuts down certain parts and activates others.

Certain hormones keep you awake and alert. On the other hand, chemical messengers such as melatonin and cortisol help you get ready for sleep.

Best Type of Light for a Night Light

Regular incandescent and halogen bulbs can flicker and buzz, symptoms associated with many people’s night-time discomfort.

A good nightlight should be dim enough that it doesn’t cause any kind of eye strain but it still allows you to see enough so you can get around without tripping over things.

A compact fluorescent light (CFL) is one option. These provide light that’s warmer and less glaring than a regular bulb. It is easier on the eyes and can be used as a low level night light.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, they are not a fire hazard. One drawback, however, is that because compact fluorescent lighting contains low levels of mercury, the Department of Energy recommends that they be disposed of properly.

Another option are LED lights. These can be used as both a light for nighttime reading and as a nightlight. Some LED lights have a dimmer that allows you to adjust it to the right level.

One advantage of LED lights is that they don’t have a warm-up period like incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.