Christmas Lights May Be Disrupting Your Sleep
A lot of my neighbors have illuminated their home for the holiday season. Their Christmas lights went up the day after Thanksgiving. With a new puppy at home, I haven’t started working on my holiday decorations yet. But that’s giving me more time to consider what kind of lights I put up. Did you know certain Christmas lights can negatively impact your sleep quality?
Dr. Katherine Hall, the resident sleep psychologist at UK bedding retailer Happy Beds, has shared the fascinating connection between festive lights and sleep. More specifically, she has revealed the best and worst Christmas lights for optimal slumber. Dr. Hall says, “Being exposed to intense, bright, or flashing lights before bedtime is a sleep hygiene faux pas. The dazzling lights we all love during the festive season send the wrong signal to your brain, disrupting melatonin production and hindering your sleep-wake cycle.”
Sleep-Disrupting Christmas Lights
So which type of Christmas lights are potentially upsetting your sleep quality? Dr. Hall identifies these three as the biggest offenders:
- Blue lights: Dr. Hall says, “Blue light exposure in the evening has been linked to further suppression of melatonin and interference with your circadian rhythm.” Blue light is often found in artificial lights, particularly phones and LED lights due to its stimulating effect which causes alertness and, therefore, negatively impacts your sleep cycle.
- Multi-colored lights: While visually appealing, these lights emit a spectrum of colors that may disrupt melatonin regulation. Dr. Hall notes, “It’s like having a mini light show before bedtime – charming, but not conducive to a restful night’s sleep.”
- Flashing lights: According to Dr. Hall, “Flashing lights create heightened visual stimulation, hindering your ability to switch off at night.”
It’s not that you absolutely can’t have those kinds of lights on your home this holiday season. However, Dr. Hall recommends turning off those disruptive lights at least two hours before bedtime. She explains, “Allow melatonin production to follow its natural circadian rhythm by turning off blue, multi-coloured, or flashing lights two hours before bedtime. This promotes a smoother transition to sleep and enhances overall sleep quality.”
If you don’t want to take any chances with your sleep, there are better alternatives which can even go in your bedroom. Dr. Hall suggests picking Christmas lights with a warmer tone, especially red and warm white. Both offer a gentler and more soothing glow, promote relaxation, and actually enhance sleep quality.