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Bedroom Lighting Basics

Bedroom lighting basics

Although most of the time you spend in your bedroom is dedicated to sleeping, it is a multifunctional space. You might be reading before bed, getting ready in the morning or doing hair or makeup. The lights you choose for those daytime activities shouldn’t compromise your night’s sleep, and vice versa.

There is a wide variety of lighting available. Some light sources emit more of the red spectrum of light, while others are bluer. Research shows that exposure to light from the red side signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep, triggering the body’s production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This type of light mimics a deep orange or red sunset, which signals the day is done. Blue light has the opposite effect. Midday sun is the “coolest” form of white light – the time when people tend to be most awake and energetic.

While traditional incandescent light bulbs create a warmer glow, which is great for sleep, they’re not very efficient in terms of energy or for activity lighting. LED bulbs last much longer, save energy and generate almost no radiant heat, and while they’re great for task lighting, they can be much brighter and not conducive to telling your brain it’s sleep time.

Balancing different types of light in your bedroom will help it be a functional room for day and night. Just as you would layer colours in your bedroom to create texture, mood and character, approaching light in the same way will have a similar effect.

  • Ambient lighting during the day can help with tidying up or relaxing
  • Accent lighting creates a calming transition from day to evening
  • Task lighting focuses where it’s needed most (e.g. a reading lamp)

Start with your bedside lamp, which is the last thing you’ll see before sleeping and possibly the first thing you’ll see in the morning. Reading lamps should be cool to the touch and close to the bed for easy access, while other lighting can serve as accents for furniture, photos or artwork around the room.

As you’re looking at adding lighting, also consider taking away light by shading your windows. This can help with light and with heat control. Block-out coverings can help you sleep well on summer mornings when the sun rises earlier. Your choice of curtains, blinds or shutters can also contribute stylistically to the room.