Many of us, I’m sure will at one time have had a night light. As children, we had night lights to provide us with a sense of security so the dark night didn’t feel so frightening, and maybe you have them now as an adult either in the form of a reading lamp or even some fashionable fairy lights?
But, have you considered that these lovely night time glows may be affecting your sleep? Do you care? Or do the pros outway the cons for you and your family? Join us whilst we answer the question, are night lights bad for sleep?
The Advantages of Sleeping with Night Lights On
There are many advantages of sleeping with night lights on. They provide both children and adults with a sense of security as they try to get to sleep. Night lights are proven to provide this feeling when children have nightmares or develop a fear of the dark, meaning that should your little one wake in the night, they will feel safe and secure.
It has even been suggested that leaving a night light on in a baby’s bedroom may help to boost visual development between birth and 4 months.
Not only do night lights offer security and support, but they also provide a bit of extra night time safety. Navigating dark bedrooms and hallways can be difficult for us all, especially children and the elderly. A little bit of light can make a massive difference.
The Disadvantages of Sleeping with Night Lights On
Night lights can potentially inhibit both our own and our children’s sleep, and they have been linked to frequent waking in the night.
So, why is this? Well, the light that comes from baby monitors, and most night lights, is usually blue or white light, and the wavelength of these colours of light has a massive effect on the human body.
These types of lights can prevent your body from producing melatonin - the sleep inducing hormone - meaning it can be more difficult to drift off.
“How?” I hear you ask. Your body naturally starts to produce melatonin as it gets darker outside, and cortisol, the hormone that makes you alert, when you see daylight or white and blue light. Children in particular need melatonin and a super cosy and supportive childrens bed not only to initially fall asleep but to stay asleep for longer. So, although a light may make soothe you or your child, it may also delay slumber.
So, if you find yourself asking why your child struggles to get to sleep, maybe consider switching out their night light for complete darkness.
But, What If You Need a Night Light?
Now, we know that it isn’t always easy to suddenly stop sleeping with a night light if that is what you’re used to, and it especially isn’t as easy to take that away from your child. Night lights provide many people with comfort through the night.
Fear of the dark is very much a phobia for both adults and children, but never fear, there is a way around it. To start, read our blog post, How Adults Can Overcome a Fear of the Dark.
Try simply leaving a light on in the hallway, this will help you navigate to the bathroom in the dark and will provide a bit of support if it is needed. Or you could try simply leaving a night light on a timer, so it won’t interrupt yours or your child’s sleep. Our new Frozen Night Lights have a brilliant 10 minute auto fade function, meaning they keep the bedroom perfectly lit whilst your little one drifts off.
As we have already discussed, white and blue are the colours of light that have negative effects on sleep, so why not switch your night lights for something that gives off red light? Red light, unlike blue or white light, is the one type of light that doesn’t affect the bodies melatonin levels. It won’t directly help you or your child sleep, but it won’t hinder sleep either.
So, consider getting a plugin red night light, or replacing any bulbs with red lightbulbs to make sure your sleep isn’t affected by your night light. It helps to limit white and blue light before bed also, so you can start winding down.
It is a good idea to reduce your child’s exposure to white and blue light before bedtime so they can properly wind down. It is worth having a waterproof red light lamp in your bathroom, so when you’re giving your child their bedtime bath their melatonin production isn’t affected, setting them up for a great night’s sleep.
Really, it is all down to personal preference. Ultimately, it is always going to be better to sleep completely in the dark. But, if you or your child struggle with that, a red light emitting night light is absolutely the way to go to ensure that your sleep isn’t interrupted. It turns out night lights don’t need to be bad for sleep after all!
Tell us, do you or your children sleep with a night light? Do you find you struggle to sleep through the night? Or have you made the switch to a red light night light? Share your sleeping experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.