What is the Best Color Light to Sleep With?

Choosing the right color light for your bedroom can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. As our understanding of how different colors influence our circadian rhythms has grown, so has the emphasis on selecting the most appropriate hue for a restful night.

Researchers have compared various colors to determine which one is the most conducive to a good night’s rest. In this article, we will explore the best color light to sleep with and how it can positively affect your night-time routine.

The Impact of Light on Sleep

Light plays a significant role in the quality of our sleep. It affects various factors, such as our circadian rhythm, melatonin production, and overall sleep quality. Understanding how different colors of light impact these aspects can help us choose the best light color for better sleep.

Circadian Rhythm

The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Light is the primary external factor that influences this rhythm. Different colors of light have varying effects on our circadian rhythm.

For instance, exposure to blue light during the day can help maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle by keeping us alert and awake. However, exposure to blue light at night can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it difficult to fall asleep. Red or amber-colored light, on the other hand, has a minimal impact on our circadian rhythm at night, promoting a natural sleep onset.

Melatonin Production

Melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, is affected by light exposure. The secretion of melatonin increases under dim or no light conditions, signaling our body that it is time to sleep.

Blue light suppresses melatonin production more effectively than other colors of light. Consequently, using devices with screens emitting blue light before bedtime can negatively impact melatonin production, leading to sleep disturbances. Utilizing red or amber light in the evening can promote melatonin secretion and support a healthy sleep pattern.

Sleep Quality

Besides impacting the initiation of sleep, light also affects sleep quality. Exposure to bright, blue light before bedtime can lead to decreased sleep efficiency and increased awakenings during the night. On the contrary, using dim and warm-colored lights before sleep, like red or amber, can help improve sleep quality.

Creating a sleep environment with low-intensity, warm-colored lights can support a restful and rejuvenating sleep experience. Additionally, reducing exposure to screens emitting blue light in the evening is essential for sustaining good sleep hygiene.

Colors and Their Effects on Sleep

Different colors of light have varying effects on our sleep quality and the duration it takes to fall asleep. In this section, we will discuss the impact of blue, red, green, and white lights.

Blue Light

Blue light has the strongest effect on the regulation of our circadian rhythm. It suppresses melatonin production more than other colors, making it harder to fall asleep. Exposure to blue light, especially during the evening, can lead to difficulty falling asleep and a reduction in the overall quality of sleep.

Examples of blue light sources include electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and televisions. It is recommended to minimize exposure to blue light in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Red Light

Red light is considered the least disruptive color to our circadian rhythm. It has minimal impact on melatonin production and can help promote relaxation.

Using red light in the evening is a practical method to mitigate the negative effects of artificial light on sleep. Some sleep aids and nightlights use red LEDs to create a sleep-friendly environment.

Green Light

Green light may not be as disruptive as blue light, but it can still have negative effects on sleep. Research suggests that green light exposure can slightly suppress melatonin production and potentially delay sleep onset.

Incorporating green light in your bedtime routine is not as ideal as using red light; however, it is still a better alternative than blue light when trying to minimize sleep disruption.

White Light

White light is a combination of all colors and can vary in its impact on sleep depending on the spectrum it emits. White light that leans toward the blue end of the spectrum can negatively affect sleep, whereas warm white light, which has more red and yellow tones, can be more conducive to sleep.

It is advisable to choose warm white light for bedroom lighting to support a good night’s sleep and avoid cool white light, which tends to emit higher levels of blue light.

Lighting Options for the Bedroom

Creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom is essential for promoting a good night’s sleep. One aspect to consider is the type of lighting you use. This section will explore different lighting options, including night lights, LED lights, and ambient lighting, to help you determine the best color light for your sleep environment.

Night Lights

Night lights are a popular choice for those who prefer a subtle ambient glow rather than complete darkness. These low-intensity lights are available in a range of colors, such as warm red, orange, or amber, which have been shown to have minimal impact on our circadian rhythms.

  • Red or amber night lights can promote relaxation and sleep without interrupting melatonin production.
  • Blue or green options, while visually appealing, may adversely affect sleep due to their stimulating effects on the brain.

LED Lights

LED lights offer a practical and energy-efficient solution for bedroom illumination. With the ability to adjust color and intensity, these lights allow for customization of your sleep environment.

ColorEffect on Sleep
Warm whiteEmulates natural sunset, triggering relaxation and sleepiness.
Red or amberSupports melatonin production and promotes relaxation.
Blue or cool whitePotentially disrupts sleep by suppressing melatonin production.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting involves using multiple light sources to create a soft, soothing atmosphere in the bedroom. This kind of setup can create varying levels of brightness, which can be adjusted based on personal preference and sleep requirements.

Options for ambient lighting include:

  • Dimmable bedside lamps with warm-toned bulbs
  • LED light strips or rope lights placed around the perimeter of the room or behind furniture
  • Fairy lights, salt lamps, or other gentle sources of light that emit a warm, calming glow

Whichever lighting option you choose, it’s important to consider its effect on your sleep quality and create an environment that promotes relaxation and restfulness.

Smartphone and Screen Usage

The impact of screen usage, particularly smartphones, on sleep quality is an important factor to consider when choosing the best color light for sleep.

Screens and Sleep

Screens from devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers emit blue light. Blue light has been shown to suppress the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep and disruptions in sleep patterns. To mitigate these effects, screen usage should be limited before bedtime.

Many devices now offer built-in features to reduce blue light emissions, such as night mode or blue light filters. These settings change the color temperature of the screen to emit warmer, redder hues, which are less likely to interfere with sleep.

Some studies suggest that red and amber-colored lights can help stimulate melatonin production and promote relaxation. Therefore, these colors may be the best choice in terms of screen usage before bed.

Phone Usage Before Bed

Reducing overall smartphone usage before bed is an important consideration. Ideally, we should aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of phone-free time before sleep, to allow the body to wind down and prepare for sleep.

For those who find it difficult to avoid using their phone, some strategies can be employed:

  • Try setting a specific time each evening to put the phone away, and implement a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Enable night mode or blue light filter settings to reduce the blue light emitted from the screen.
  • Consider using apps designed to promote sleep, such as meditation, white noise, or ambient sound apps.

By incorporating these practices and understanding the impact of smartphone screens on sleep, we can make informed decisions about the best color light to sleep with.

Improving Sleep Through Light Therapy

Adjusting the type of light exposure during the evening can help support a restful night’s sleep. This section will discuss the benefits of red light therapy and ways to create an ideal sleep environment.

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy, also known as low-level light therapy, has gained popularity for improving sleep quality. This type of light promotes rest and relaxation, as it has a lower color temperature compared to other light sources, such as blue or white lights.

Red light exposure at night can help regulate the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for controlling sleep and wake cycles. Unlike blue light, which suppresses melatonin production, red light might support uninterrupted sleep patterns.

Creating an Ideal Sleep Environment

Establishing a soothing sleep environment is essential for a good night’s rest. A combination of the appropriate light, temperature, and ambiance can significantly impact your sleep quality. Here are some tips for creating an ideal sleep setting using light:

  • Dimming lights: Gradually dimming the lights in your bedroom an hour before bedtime can signal your brain to prepare for sleep.
  • Using red light bulbs: Install red light bulbs in lamps or nightlights to minimize harsh, sleep-disrupting lighting.
  • Eliminate screen time: Limit exposure to screens, such as smartphones, tablets, or televisions, that emit blue light close to bedtime.
  • Consider light-blocking curtains: Invest in curtains or blinds that block out external light sources, like streetlights, to maintain a dark sleeping environment.

By incorporating these practices, you can support a more restful and rejuvenating sleep experience.

Studies and Research on Light and Sleep

Various studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of different colored light on sleep quality in both animals and humans.

Effects on Mice and Nocturnal Animals

In nocturnal animals, such as mice, exposure to light at night can potentially disturb their natural sleep patterns. Research has demonstrated that different colors of light can have varying effects on these animals.

For example, a study conducted by Yasuo and colleagues (2007) found that mice exposed to dim blue light during their subjective night experienced a significant decrease in melatonin levels, which negatively affected their sleep. On the other hand, dim red light did not cause any substantial changes in melatonin levels, suggesting that red light is less disruptive for nocturnal animals.

Human Studies

Research involving human participants has also shown that certain colors of light can have varying effects on sleep quality.

  • Blue light: A study by Chellappa and colleagues (2011) found that exposure to blue light in the evening can decrease melatonin production and result in increased alertness, potentially making it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Red light: Conversely, red light has been shown to be less disruptive to sleep. A study by Gooley and colleagues (2010) reported that exposure to red light in the evening did not significantly suppress melatonin levels, resulting in a more conducive environment for sleep.

Another study by Blume and colleagues (2019) found that participants who were exposed to amber-colored light experienced better sleep quality, including longer sleep duration and less waking during the night, compared to those exposed to blue or white light.

In conclusion, research across both mice and human studies suggests that exposure to red or amber-colored light in the evening may be less disruptive to sleep compared to blue or white light.

Other Factors Affecting Sleep

While color light is an important aspect to consider for sleep, other factors also play a crucial role in ensuring a good night’s rest.

Best Mattress

Having the best mattress is essential for achieving optimal sleep. A quality mattress should provide adequate support, comfort, and temperature regulation. Some of the top considerations when selecting a mattress include:

  • Materials: Memory foam, latex, innerspring, or hybrid
  • Firmness level: Should cater to individual preferences and sleep positions
  • Size: Ensure enough space for comfortable movement during sleep

Bedroom Decor

Creating a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom can enhance sleep quality. Some potential adjustments to improve the decor and atmosphere are:

  • Wall color: Choose calming hues such as soft blues or gentle greens
  • Minimalism: Keep the room clutter-free and remove distracting items
  • Artwork: Add soothing images, such as a serene landscape or watercolor painting, to promote relaxation


The ambiance in your bedroom is crucial for good sleep. Factors like temperature, noise level, and lighting contribute to the overall atmosphere. Consider these points to create an ideal sleeping environment:

  • Temperature: Maintain a cool room temperature between 60-67°F (15-19°C) for optimal sleep
  • Noise: Minimize noise disturbances by using earplugs, white noise machines, or creating sound barriers
  • Lighting: Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to prevent sleep disruption from external light sources

Finally, the use of technology in the bedroom should be minimized to help regulate the body’s internal clock. Consider reading a physical book rather than a screen before bedtime to achieve a sense of relaxation and facilitate a smooth transition to sleep.

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