I love reading about new studies and new ideas and this one is one of my favorites because it seems so obvious and yet I had never thought about it. Last fall, the New York Times published an article that I have referred to many times about light and sleep.
I read it the night that it came out and as we were falling asleep, my husband and I were talking about how light affects our sleep as well. And then my husband said as he was drifting asleep, “Yep, that bright LED light in the boys room has always kept me up. I always thought it should be a more orange-ish light.” Then he fell asleep.
After he said that, I couldn’t sleep. Was I unintentionally keeping my children from deep sleep by putting in a low energy LED night-light? My mind raced forward 20 years where my children couldn’t get jobs because they didn’t do well in school because I’d put a bright night-light in their room when they were little. So I got up and as my husband peacefully snoozed, I created an orange cover from construction paper and tape to put over the boy’s night-light. I snuck in their room and changed their light from a bright blue light to a dimmed orange light.
The next morning and almost every morning since then, they have slept a half hour longer. It may be in my head, but they seem better rested and happier children.
I would love to purchase the light bulb that is mentioned in the article, but since we aren’t about to buy every gadget that comes out to help kids, I have decided to try to make my own night light.
In researching this, I read that having no night-light in the bedroom is actually the best for inducing sleep. So if you have older children with no fears of the dark, you can slowly move the light out of the room by moving it to plugs that are further away and then covering the light with more and more paper until it is dark. Then have a light in the hallway for night wakings.
But if you have a younger child or a child who is afraid of the dark, then try some different ways to make the light dimmer and more orange. And if you have the extra cash and want to see how well the advertised bulb works, then I’d love to hear how it works!