Do you use a night light lamp when going to sleep? Or maybe you switch it on so that your children can fall asleep when afraid of the dark? If so, make sure that the kind you are using is not having any detrimental effects on your sleep pattern.
People have been using night light lamps to alleviate the pitch-black darkness of the night. These night lights should be bright enough to make out the contours of the room and furniture so that we do not trip when walking to the bathroom at 3 am. They give off gentle and dim lighting that can be comforting, especially for young children.
We should not overlook the lamp’s brightness when choosing to purchase one. Using bright lights during the time we’re supposed to be asleep can mess with the brain’s perception of daytime and nighttime. If the lamp tricks us, subconsciously, into thinking it is still daytime, the hormone called melatonin will not be released. Melatonin is the body’s natural reaction to darkness. It makes us drowsy and is helpful when falling asleep. Being around bright lights makes people alert and ready to work. Staring at bright lights during the night disturbs the body’s circadian rhythm which is why it is essential to choose a night light lamp that doesn’t shine too bright.
It is especially crucial when the night light lamp is supposed to go into the child’s bedroom. If the night light’s purpose is to combat the child’s fear of the dark then that means the lights are often going to be switched on throughout the whole night. And while the child might be able to fall asleep, that sleep will not be the best quality. If your child is waking up tired then check if the light in their room is not too bright. Multiple failures to sleep well can cause problems with the body’s development if the child is still growing. Lack of good quality sleep may result in irritability or difficulties with learning.
We know that light can have different colors. The lights used in supermarkets are often white while spas and other relaxation spaces tend to use more gentle, yellow lighting. This is connected to the concept of light temperature. The higher the temperature (measured at degrees Kelvin), the more ‘bright’ the light appears to be. Lower temperatures are warmer and more ‘yellow’ or even ‘red’.
Higher temperatures are similar in quality to the light given off by the sun. This is why brighter lights are able to make our brains think it is daylight. When choosing the night light lamp (or the lightbulb for the night light lamp) we should opt for brightness not higher than 3000K, maybe even lower than 2000K if you can find one. Warm lights promote relaxation and can make us feel sleepy even if we’re not.
Scientists say that sleeping with no lights at all is actually the best for the human body as it completely reduces the risk of melatonin decrease. But if you or your child have trouble falling asleep in the dark and you need to have a night light lamp in your bedroom, choose one that will help you sleep well.