How to get relaxing lights for your bedroom

December 2, 2020

After a busy day, there’s nothing nicer than putting up your feet, especially if you’re in a comfortable bedroom with lighting specially designed to help you relax. But getting the most relaxing lighting takes a bit of planning — luckily, it’s easy to do with these tips.

Basics of relaxing bedroom lights

Most bedrooms have a main ceiling light and bedside lamps, but how you use them will make all the difference in getting the most relaxing lights possible.

Bed, painting, plant, and curtains washed in purple smart light in a bedroom

Overhead lights

Overhead lights in the bedroom can be practical when it's time to get up and go, but because they’re functional, they won’t always help you settle down before bed. If you opt to use your overhead lighting, smart recessed spotlights that can dim down low, especially in warmer colors, can flood the space in a gentle glow. A single fixture hanging from the ceiling can create the same effect — just make sure it’s got a diffused shade for softer light.

Bright idea: If you’re looking to improve your kids’ bedroom lighting, add a Hue motion sensor with a smart light. This gives children a sense of security — and confidence — when they wake up at night.

Bedside lamps for relaxation

A bedside light is not only functional, but can set the mood for bedtime, too. Having a smart bedside table lamp means you can tailor the lighting to your individual sleep schedule. Read a book or finish your nightly routine in light that’s customized for you — without disturbing anyone else.

Bright idea: Use the automated Hue Labs Personal wake up formula to start the day with gentle light during the weekends and wake up to cooler-toned light on weekdays. Use a Go to sleep routine in the evenings to make your lights slowly fade out as you drift off to sleep. 

Other types of bedroom lights

When it comes to lighting your bedroom for the best relaxation, you’re not only limited to overhead and beside table lamps. Add a floor lamp to bring gentle glows to darker corners or place a dimmable smart table lamp on the dresser for subtle accent lighting. Smart LED vintage-style bulbs look chic without a lampshade and can be dimmed down to a low glow.

Philips Hue Filament bulbs turned on to a low glow hanging bare from a cable on either side of a bed

The most relaxing light colors

Color temperature (how warm or cool we perceive lighting to be) is measured on the Kelvin scale. Daylight and fluorescent tube lighting are rated between 4000 K and 6500 K and are considered cool light. A candle and a traditional 40-watt light bulb are rated between 1500 K and 2600 K and are considered warm light.

Cool vs. warm light for relaxing

Light with higher kelvin (K) is best used to help you feel more awake and focused, while light with lower kelvin is better for relaxing. You’re probably familiar with this concept from your smartphone, as many companies are now implementing a night mode with warmer colors for their devices. But how does this work?

Light affects us in various ways — including physically. Melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep, is vital to our internal biological clock and is affected by the light surrounding us. White and blue light have a particularly strong effect on our melatonin levels: cool light suppresses the hormone’s production and make us feel more alert and energized. 

Hallway split down the middle with warm white light on the left and cool blue light on the right

Red-toned lights, which generally have a color temperature similar to candlelight and sunsets, are best used to help you ease your body into its natural sleep cycle. According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature1, 1900 K lighting is particularly beneficial to our health and biological clock. This level of warm light promotes the secretion of melatonin, improving quality of sleep and may even have other health benefits, the study found.

Incorporating these small changes can help enhance the space where you refresh, slow down, and give yourself a break — you may even enjoy a better night's sleep.

Disclaimer

¹ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-43864-6