Waking up in the middle of the night can feel frustrating when you’re hoping for a solid night of sleep.
Laying in bed, suddenly realizing your brain has flicked the metaphorical lights back on at 2 am can be discouraging.
If you experience this issue regularly, it might be time to look into what you can change for better zzz’s. Shifting something as simple as choosing the best nightlight color may sound trivial, but small tweaks can make a world of difference.
The color of the light you see when you wake up in the middle of the night time can have a large effect on your internal clock, and we’ll discuss why below.
Which Is the Best Light Color for Inducing Sleep?
Many night lights come with bright white or light-hued bulbs that might wake you up more than you want them to. However, if you’re going to expose your eyes to light during the night, certain colors help more than others.
Red Light and Sleep
Red light is by far the superior choice when choosing a nightlight that won’t disrupt your circadian rhythm. Naturally, waking up in the middle of the night isn’t ideal regardless, however, exposing your eyes to red light will be better than blue or green.
Our retinas hold special photosensitive cells known as ipRGC’s, which power our body’s internal clock. These cells are sensitive to different wavelengths or colors, which send signals to our brain. According to a study at Ohio State University, it seems this function is most sensitive to blue-green light, telling our brain it’s daytime.
While complete darkness will always be best for snoozing, if you wake up often and need to see, keep a red-orange hued nightlight, as your eyes will be least sensitive to this color.
Are Blue and White Sleep Colors, too?
While yes you can choose a standard white nightlight, or blue, or green, we don’t recommend it. The functioning in your retinas will be most sensitive to these colors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which color is the most relaxing?
Red will always be the most conducive to proper sleep, as blue light can inhibit our production of melatonin making it more difficult for us to get some shuteye. Lack of sleep is a common struggle today and becomes even more important when an individual is recovering or seeking optimal performance. There have even been a few studies on red light as a form of therapy.
Is green light good for sleep?
Red light or any hue along that warmer spectrum will be better than a cooler color, like green or blue. While the paint in your bedroom could be painted any color you prefer that promotes relaxation, the color of light can make a vast difference if you’re struggling to snooze through the night.
Getting solid rest is a common struggle for many individuals. Hundreds of stimuli and various sources of information are constantly thrown our way, giving our brains a large organizational task, and making switching our minds off at night challenging.
Changing your nightlight to a warm hue that is more conducive to adequate sleep can lead to significant improvement when it comes to rest patterns. Naturally, the light from our phones or our refrigerator in the middle of the night doesn’t help either, so employing a warm-hued nightlight can help you finally catch those zzz’s.
Jill Zwarensteyn is the editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.
Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.
She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.