Kids sleep better in dark rooms.
Adults sleep better in dark rooms.
AND, sometimes we need to be able to see in their bedroom.
So, what kind of night lights are best to use?
2 major criteria:
1. Your child has to not hate it.
(Some lights are too bright, some make weird shadows, some aren’t bright enough, some aren’t placed in the right spot, some make humming noises, and on and on.)
2. It should produce red light, not white or blue.
Red light doesn’t interfere with sleep as other color lights do.
In particular blue light can impact the production of melatonin. This is needed for your child to start to feel sleepy.
Blue light is emitted from many devices, such as laptops, phones, and tablets. Try to have your child avoid screens for 2 hours prior to bedtime. Watching screens before bed can make it much harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Ok, but why red?
Within your retinas are rods and cones. Within the rods is rhodopsin. Rhodopsin isn’t sensitive red light. So it won’t impact your (or your child’s) ability to sleep while it is present.
Red light has a long wavelength (around 670 nanometers if you are interested), compared to blue light from devices (around 450 and 495 nanometers).
So red light can help with falling asleep.
It can help with staying asleep.
And bonus! It helps with sleep inertia (which is how quickly you are in an awakened state after waking).
You don’t have to take my word. You are welcome to research this yourself. I’ll direct you to the Journal of Nature and Science of Sleep and the Journal of Neuroscience for more details and eye anatomy.
If you’re sleepy, just know I read about this stuff for fun.
And you can get high-quality red-light nightlights online, easily, often shipped for free.
If you are still struggling with bedtime, let’s talk.