DESIGN MATTERS: Interior Lighting and Healthy Sleep
We are pleased to feature our first contributor post by The Sleep Help Organization on:
How Lighting in the Bedroom Affects Your Sleep.
Lighting can be a fun way to add drama and personality to the bedroom. However, light is closely connected with your sleep-wake cycle, which means you need to be careful with how it’s used. Whether your tastes lean toward sculptural lighting or organic, it should all support the main function of the bedroom; which is sleep.
Light that Lets You Sleep.
Light plays an indispensable role in the timing of your sleep-wake cycle. Special photoreceptors in the eyes absorb the blue light that comes from sunlight passing through the atmosphere. These receptors send signals directly to the circadian region of the brain, which controls the sleep-wake cycle.
High-efficiency (HE) light bulbs and electronic devices like televisions give off a blue light that simulates sunlight. For that reason, HE bulbs don’t belong in the bedroom. If energy efficiency is a top priority for you, there are a few HD bulbs on the market that have been specially designed to prevent sleep loss.
The bedroom is one place where you want to stick with incandescent light bulbs. Luckily, today incandescent bulbs come in many shapes and sizes to fit in with everything from industrial to modern designs. And, in general, electronic devices are best left in other rooms because of the likelihood that they’ll disrupt your sleep.
Lighting design has to address three main lighting types – ambient, task, and accent. Ambient light provides the overall elimination of the room and can make a bold statement. Designers at Ladies & Gentleman Studio, for example, create lighting with geometric shapes that blurs the boundaries between art and functional pieces. On the other hand, designer Jason Miller’s antler chandelier has a sophisticated rusticity that brings nature directly into the bedroom. Any of these choices might add the right touch to your bedroom and keep it well illuminated. Your ambient lighting choices don’t need to be boring.
Task and accent lighting highlight specific areas of the room, but they also serve a purpose. Task lighting, as the name implies, direct light for tasks like ready. Sconces or table lamps work well for this purpose. To help everyone in the room sleep better, task lighting should be placed where you can shut them on or off without getting out of bed or bouncing the mattress which could disturb a partner. Any recessed or track lighting should be pointed away from the bed to keep light levels low.
Accent lighting is usually used in the closet to illuminate drawers and shelves. It’s less of a worry because it’s not in a location that would disturb your sleep.
You can’t forget the power of natural light in the bedroom. While light flooding in the room gives it a beautiful, airy feel and makes it seem bigger, it can also suppress the release of sleep hormones at night and wake you too early in the morning.
A combination of blackout curtains, heavy drapes, and/or blinds will allow you to better control the natural light in your bedroom. A second sheer layer allows you to diffuse light throughout the space when you want. Sheers also provide an opportunity to bring contrast to a heavy, dramatic curtain or drape.
The bedroom lighting should also allow you to get the deep, restful sleep you need. With the attention to the light levels and control of natural light, you’ll be able to create a peaceful bedroom oasis.
written by Amy Highland, edited by Ania Trica.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness and she is a regular reader of the “Scientific American “. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with her blanket, a book, and her cats.
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