You’ve undoubtedly heard that blue light can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. That poses an even bigger issue for those of you who like to scroll through social media while tucked beneath the covers.
With so many pieces of evidence pointing to the fact that blue light is detrimental to sleep, it encouraged the study of numerous other colors and how they influence the sleeping process, as well as answered the question "Does red light help you sleep?"
Well, the research that has been done concludes that red light does help with the sleeping process.
Why Is Red Light the Best for Sleeping?
Red light is perfect for use in the evenings and after dark because it emits warm color wavelengths that are low on the color temperature scale. Using a red light at night doesn’t interfere with your body’s internal clock. It doesn’t jolt your body awake or suppress melatonin production, which is what your body produces to make you feel sleepy.
Located in your retinas are cells called ipRGC’s. These cells are photosensitive and are capable of picking up all surrounding light and send them as a message to your brain. Your brain then translates this message for your body’s circadian (internal) clock.
The ipRGC cells are highly sensitive to blue, white, and other lights that are high on the color temperature scale. They are least sensitive to warmer colors such as orange and red, which is why your internal clock doesn’t get confused when picking these colored lights up.
Does Red Light Provide a Better Quality of Sleep?
Now that you’ve asked the “Does red light help you sleep?” question and learned that it does, it’s time to look at the quality of sleep that you get. Many studies on red light have been conducted on healthy adults, and it’s been shown that red light used in therapy sessions lulls participants into a deeper, more relaxed REM cycle.
Many doctors have suggested using red light therapy as a non-invasive and non-medicinal method of managing many sleep disorders including mild insomnia. It’s better to turn to the red light before you look into pharmaceutical sleeping aids that can create dependency and make the problem worse.
The benefits that come with having a better quality sleep are fantastic. Not only do you feel better and more relaxed, but it also helps with your skin, mood, appetite and overall health. As an adult, your body needs at least seven to eight hours of REM sleep to reset the circadian cycle and make you feel refreshed.
Red Lights and Melatonin
Melatonin is the natural hormone that your body produces to make you sleepy; the more melatonin that you have, the more tired that you feel. If you’ve experienced issues with sleeping in the past, there’s a good chance that you’ve purchased melatonin from the drug store. It is a capsule or chewable that you don’t need a prescription to buy.
If you are exposed to brighter lights, or lights that are high on the color temperature chart, your body doesn’t release nearly as much melatonin that’s required for you to sleep. It can also prevent you from sleeping through the night.
It has been shown that those who suffer from sleeping disorders and even those who have night terrors and traumatic brain injuries have benefited from the use of red light during the sleeping process. The research has shown that those who use red light as a sleeping aid on a regular basis have benefited from approximately one additional hour of sleep a night.
What Other Benefits Come with Red Light?
The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to eat, sleep, and wake up, and light interferes with your circadian rhythm on different levels. When staring at lights that are high on the color temperature scale, your body suppresses the amount of melatonin that’s produced, which not only interferes with how you sleep but also with when you eat.
It can make you feel hungry during times that you shouldn’t be, such as at night. Using a red light doesn’t just help you to fall asleep and get a better quality sleep; it also helps with keeping your appetite on track. If you are staying up late because you can’t sleep, you’re likely to feel hungry, which can result in nighttime overeating.
Poor sleep and the fatigue that comes with it can not only create health issues that weren’t there before, but it can also negatively impact your day-to-day activities and even put others at risk if you’re driving. The light that you expose yourself to plays an incredibly massive role in the sleeping process, and while it’s best to sleep in total darkness, if you can’t, choose red light therapy.
So, does red light help you sleep? The short answer is yes. If you have an issue getting your seven or eight hours of sleep each night, try using a red nightlight before turning to any pharmaceuticals that can be addictive, and even make the problem worse.