How to Light Your Home for the Best Sleep Ever

Make catching z's easier with these home lighting tips.

Humans are programmed to rise with the sun and sleep when it sets, but that cycle doesn't always coincide with our daily schedules. The good news: How we light our homes—especially our bedrooms—can help optimize our sleep cycle.

A good night's sleep is critical for good health, and lighting can play a role in helping you get the best possible rest. The type of lighting, timing, and color of light can all have significant effects on your body's internal clock. These expert tips from the American Lighting Association will help you outfit your bedroom for a sleep-inducing setup.

Bed and side tables with lamps in a white and cream palette
Courtesy of the American Lighting Association

How Lighting Affects Sleep

First, let's dig into how light—both natural and artificial—can either help regulate or interfere with your sleep schedule. Your body's cycle of sleeping and waking, called the circadian rhythm, can be disrupted when you soak up too much of the wrong kind of light. During the day, the sun gives off light that makes you feel alert and awake.

As evening falls, your body's melatonin levels naturally begin to rise, helping you wind down before bedtime. But if the artificial light in your home continues to mimic natural light even after the sun has set, your internal sleep clock can be thrown off track.

bed with nightstand and lamp in a navy and brown palette
Courtesy of the American Lighting Association

Home Lighting Tips for Better Sleep

Although LED bulbs, which emit blue-tinted light like the sun, are a natural (and energy-efficient!) choice for daytime use, it's important to switch to dimmer, warm light in the evening. This helps signal your brain that it's time to produce melatonin and get ready to rest.

Outfit light fixtures in your bedroom with amber-hue bulbs (look for ones with a light temperature of about 2400-3000 degrees Kelvin). Alternatively, you can use dimmable, color-changing LED bulbs throughout the house, and adjust the temperature of the lights as the day goes on. If you're using smart lighting, you can also customize a nighttime setting that automates an evening wind-down process.

In addition to bedside lamps and overhead fixtures, consider night-lights for better sleep. Choose ones with amber bulbs, which will be the least disruptive to sleep during middle-of-the-night bathroom visits.

With these bedroom lighting ideas, a great night's sleep is just a flick of the light switch away.

For more help with a healthy lighting plan, find an American Lighting Association showroom near you.

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  1. Cleveland Clinic. Melatonin: what it is & function.

  2. Grubisic, Maja, Abraham Haim, Pramod Bhusal, Davide M. Dominoni, Katharina M. A. Gabriel, Andreas Jechow, Franziska Kupprat, Amit Lerner, Paul Marchant, William Riley, Katarina Stebelova, Roy H. A. van Grunsven, Michal Zeman, Abed E. Zubidat, and Franz Hölker. 2019. "Light Pollution, Circadian Photoreception, and Melatonin in Vertebrates" Sustainability 11, no. 22: 6400.

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