Use Light to Help You Sleep

Astronauts tested this circadian rhythm-supporting bulb.

In the context of sleep, light is often demonized. Stare at blue light from your phone or laptop before bed, and your brain will stop producing melatonin, a powerful hormone that helps you doze off. 

That interferes with your circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, which can negatively impact every organ in your body. “We’re beginning to understand a bit better the role circadian rhythm plays in health,” says Nathaniel Watson, MD, co-director of the Medicine Sleep Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

You may have already tweaked your evening routine to avoid these disruptions, but experts suggest exposing yourself to the right types of light can help you snooze more soundly. Watson envisions that the bedrooms of the future will automatically adjust to people’s ideal nighttime conditions by filtering blue light out of bulbs, drawing blackout shades at the preferred time, chilling rooms, and monitoring air pollution. 

“There are lots of things to do to optimize your environment,” he says. Lighting is the first step on this quest for the perfect slumber. New smart bulbs and lighting systems manipulate color wavelengths with the tap of a finger, emit warm light, and cater to your schedule so you go to bed feeling relaxed and wake up ready for the day.

Regain control over your circadian rhythm with these four products.