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We all know what a good and bad night’s sleep feels like. You either wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy or unmotivated and lethargic - sleep is vital for both our physical and mental well-being. In fact, a good night’s sleep can help improve things like:

  • Memory
  • Mood
  • Judgement
  • Decision-making
  • Ability to learn

Sleep also impacts our work performance and how we carry out day-to-day tasks. Particularly, good sleep is a necessity for health and well-being in the long run. As such, we’ll want to know what contributes to sleep quality and how we can improve it.

Perhaps a surprise to some, lighting plays a crucial role in how our bodies and minds function. Poor quality lighting will disrupt our sleep, whereas a soft, relaxing glow can help provide a restful night.

The trick is knowing what kind of light to use in your bedroom and where to use it for better-quality sleep. Read on to discover our top bedroom lighting design tips.

1. Natural light is key

Our bodies need darkness at night and brightness in the morning. The absence of light sends a critical signal to the body relaying that it’s time to rest. If exposed to too much light at the wrong time, our body’s circadian rhythm or ‘sleep clock’ will be interfered with, reducing both quantity and quality of sleep.

Blackout blinds, or shades, can block out unwanted streetlights at night to make falling asleep easier. However, they can disconnect us from the morning sun, which is an integral part of our wake-up routine – it sets off a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that contribute to us feeling good.

So, either consider blinds that let in the morning sun or use smart controls to raise your blackout blinds before your scheduled wake-up.

What if you often wake up before sunrise? Not to worry, lighting can be cleverly designed and integrated with smart controls to turn on as and when you need it to, almost replicating sunrise. If your alarm is set for 5 AM, have your lights automatically switch on 5 minutes before.

Want to find out more on this? Take a look at our Complete Guide to Home Light Control Systems where we explore wired vs wireless controls, the benefits of smart lighting, costs attached and more.

2. Think about your bedside table luminaires

Whether you’re reading a book or watching TV in bed, make sure to avoid bright, harsh lights in your eyes before sleeping. Stay away from bedside luminaires or pendant lights with clear glass shades or visible lamps that create glare. It’s also a good idea to ensure lampshades are equal to your eye level when sitting up in bed.

Stay clear of recessed downlights above the bed too. These can push light directly towards your retina and negatively affect your sleeping pattern. If you’re adamant about the idea of recessed downlights, we recommend positioning them carefully around the bed, paired together with a dimmer.

3. Choose the right luminaires

As you refresh your bedroom lighting scheme, it’s important to consider the type of bulb you’ll use for each fixture. The bulb colour and intensity of light has the potential to affect your quality of sleep. Choosing a bulb too bright will keep your brain functioning at a higher rate, causing issues when it’s time to sleep.

While the suggested lumens for the bedroom range between 2,200 and 3,000 lumens, this can be changed based on the ambience you desire. When it comes to colour, it’s often down to personal preference. The most relaxing light colour for sleep isn’t necessarily the same for you as it would be for someone else. However, the ability to dim your lights can make all the difference.

4. Explore dimming capabilities

Once you settle on the maximum lumen output of your lamps, explore the possibilities of dimming. We’re huge fans of dimming, and not just in the bedroom. Having complete control over the brightness and ambience of your home is key to a successful lighting scheme.

For bedrooms especially, having the ability to dim your lights before you sleep is simply wonderful. We cannot stress enough how much of a difference it makes.

Being able to set your lights to the lowest brightness while you read or get ready for bed will allow your mind to unwind properly for a better night’s sleep.

Want to learn more about dimmable controls and how to integrate them with your lighting? Take a look at the Ultimate Guide to Dimmable LED Lights.

Case Study: Contemporary Residence Bedroom, Sussex

We were presented with a brilliant opportunity to transform the lighting throughout a home in Sussex. When planning the bedroom lighting, we had numerous things to consider to create a relaxing, peaceful environment. Understanding that the holistic interplay between light and darkness is crucial for getting to sleep easily and waking up peacefully, we took everything into consideration.

The challenge

The homeowners were a couple in their 50’s from Sussex, both working regular 9-5 jobs. Knowing our clients is essential because we design lighting to suit and improve their lifestyles. Since they regularly woke up around sunrise, we needed to consider how natural light could best be utilised in the morning. The couple wanted a modern lighting system that they could control for various situations, so the task was a lot more complex than simply adding a bedroom night light.

The home was contemporary, yet not super-modern or architecturally designed. The bedroom was quite open, with minimal furniture, so we had plenty of space to play with. This can sometimes be a blessing because there are fewer hard-to-reach places, but it can also be challenging because there’s so much open space for light to bounce around in.

The walls were predominantly white, meaning soft lighting for bedrooms needed to be considered; otherwise, the space could quickly become too bright. We felt that a minimalist space such as this required relaxing lights for bedrooms, something that wasn’t too overbearing but still effective.

What we considered

The major consideration for this project was the combination of natural light and how to get the best lighting for bedrooms. Firstly, we noted that the room gathered an element of natural light each morning, even with the blinds closed. As such, we needed to concern ourselves more with what lights to use at night.

The white walls were also a big part of our planning because they tend to reflect light around the room and make any lighting more pronounced, especially in such an open room with limited shadows and darker spots.

Of course, the other consideration was our client’s lifestyle. They both enjoy reading in bed in the evening, but they also like to get a relaxing, comfortable sleep, even if one of them is still reading. We understood that we needed to consider not just the overhead lighting, but also find the best night light for use beside the bed.

The right type of bedroom lights

During the day, and even in the early hours of the evening, our clients were able to get plenty of natural light from their windows. So, our main task was to design a lighting system that provided them with comfort as they relaxed in bed in the evening. We thought of the best light colour for our client’s sleep, but it was more about the intensity in this case.

We opted for dimmable lighting overhead because this gave our clients the ability to control the overall light in the room. If they wanted a lot of rich, bright light, they could achieve that. They could also get the perfect dim light for bedrooms.

The best bedside lights

Since reading in bed was a big part of our client’s lifestyle, we wanted to give them both a way to enjoy reading without having harsh, bright light in their eyes as they were winding down for the evening. This is where small bedroom lighting beside the bed needed to be considered.

Our clients preferred the minimalist look, so we provided some sleek, modern lamps for each side of the bed. These provided a dim night light that allowed each person to read, even if the other wanted to switch theirs off and go to sleep. The dim night light is perfect because it doesn’t over-excite the senses while winding down for bed. Plus, it’s the type of light that helps you sleep.

Overall, this project was a great success, with our clients reporting that they have never slept better. They love the dimmable lights because they can now control how much light they use in the period before going to sleep. It relaxes them for the evening, and they still have the option of bright light when they need it.

Enhance your bedroom lighting

At Hampshire light, we have over 20 years of experience creating detailed lighting schemes for homes throughout Hampshire and surrounding counties. If you’re looking to enhance your bedroom and even your entire home’s lighting, contact us today to discuss directly with one of our lighting design specialists. We’ll talk through your requirements and recommend the best solution for you.

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