What are the best lights to use in bedrooms?
Why is lighting for sleep so important?
When planning our bedroom lighting, it is important to consider the impact it may have on the quality of our slumber.
Sleep is vital to our physical and mental well-being, yet many of us Brits are losing out. It can be down to our personal choice where we choose to forfeit our sleeping time to binge watch TV, or for some additional screen time.
When we look back 80 years ago, the average amount of sleep per night was 8 hours, whereas now we see 6 hours and 40 minutes is the average. This falls short of the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night to keep us healthy.
We have to be mindful, that a day’s work 80 years ago may well have been more physical with a routine that allowed for maximum relaxation before preparing for bed.
Today, we generally operate in a far more sedate environment using our brains and computers to generate an output. Relaxation includes a lot of social media in various guises with more screen time, so whilst our eyes may be tired, our brains can be over stimulated when we turn out the light to try and sleep.
So, first things first, let’s get the bedroom lighting right. We are all susceptible to our historic circadian rhythm, when we rose with the sun and slept with the dawn.
This inherent pattern sums up why lighting is so important as part of our sleeping patterns; simply put, the light energises us, and the dark helps us to relax.
We will all have a central ceiling light in the centre (or roughly thereabouts) of our bedroom. It’s generally quite a large light which spills light on to the bed – generally where you don’t want it!
Many choose to simply not use the central ceiling light at bedtime, but if you do use it, you could consider adding a dimmer switch or choosing a ceiling pendant or shade which features a diffuser to ensure that there is limited glare. This will ensure that the ambience in the room is softer and warmer, a much better proposition when we’re aiming to wind down for the night.
By choosing to place your lights where you need light is an obvious choice. Table lamps at a bedside are a clear win, allowing you to relax and enjoy a good book without having to get out of bed to turn off the light.
Some may find that space on a bedside table is at a premium, or perhaps have no room for a bedside table at all. This is where wall lights come in to prominence, some even come with handy shelves and charging ports so that you can safely store your jewellery and knick-knacks, or charge your devices whilst you recharge your own battery.
An emerging trend of using ceiling pendants as bedside lights can have a dramatic and luscious effect.
In order to facilitate a good night’s sleep, we need to strip our rooms down and look at the basics. Add little light touches here and there which appeal to the calm side of your nature. We need to feel cossetted and comforted in this room, so make sure you keep it clean and tidy so you’re not stressed with the clutter.
Our bedrooms have an important role to play throughout our lives. Our sleep patterns change throughout our lives and it’s no coincidence that we struggle to ‘sleep like babies’, as it’s actually much harder to fall and stay asleep as we age.
It’s therefore no surprise that our bedrooms need to change with the different needs that evolve on our journey through life. Whilst a child may appreciate a fun and quirky nightlight that glows to keep monsters at bay, we may grow to want soft, tactile furnishings that offer comfort, or the scent of lavender hanging in the air. Along with this, the levels of light that we need will also change, so the flexibility with the number of lights in your room and the functionality to dim them will be a huge benefit.
When you walk into the bedroom at night, take the time to appreciate the solace this room offers. It needs to feel like a sleep oasis. Feel the solid comfort of the floor beneath your feet, use cushions, rugs and throws and place them with care; this is effectively a living room for night time; the one place you can truly be free from other’s expectations.
Creating a bedtime routine is one of the most recommended pieces of advice from sleep experts, but knowing the importance of lighting as we do, we feel that you can start to prepare for your journey to sweet dreams earlier, by adjusting the light levels to trigger your own circadian pacemaker by mimicking dusk. In this way, our living room can also contribute to the way that we wind down. By having the main lights on a dimmer switch or choosing to use a table or floor lamp will be ideal for softly lighting the pathway to restful dreams.
Routines are key, so experiment and find your own regime that works for you.
Some key advice that you can try:
- Read with a low level of light
- Avoid gadgets with lit screens and TV screens before bed
- Try and go to bed at the same time each night
- Avoid stimulants, such as nicotine and caffeine for 4-6 hours before you go to bed
- Don’t exercise within 2 hours of bedtime
- Keep the room cool, quiet and dark
- Use earplugs if you live in a busy area
- Use blackout blinds or curtains if you have external lighting that comes into the bedroom
- Relax and don’t clock watch; face your alarm clock against the wall so you only worry when you actually need to get up and not before
This blog was written in collaboration and with thanks to Ali Cleminson who works in our customer service team, who writes:
“I felt inspired to write about lighting in the bedroom following inquiries I have received here at The Lighting Company. In addition, I also began to experience my own sleep issues, so I began to experiment with my bedroom lighting that helped to reduce stimulation in the evenings and at bedtime. I want to help as many people as I can through my own experiences as our relaxation and sleep quality is of massive importance; the detriment or rewards on our everyday life is hugely impactful and should not be underestimated.”
My day is coming to an end,
My eyes are getting weary,
I hope my advice will start a trend,
And isn’t seen as dreary.
The lights down low for a gentle glow,
And up the stairs, I’ll wander,
I lay me down, all nice and cosy,
Drifting to sleep, nice and dosey…
We hope you have enjoyed our enlightening blog on lighting your bedroom for the best night’s sleep!