Red light therapy is gaining ground as an effective, natural remedy for many conditions. These conditions include various issues (from eczema to arthritis), but one of red light therapy’s most successful applications has been treating sleep disorders.
Technically speaking, red light has a higher wavelength than either white, blue, or green light and emits at a lower frequency.
But what does this mean for your health?
A red night light can be more soothing, less stimulating, and encourage the production of the ‘sleepy hormone,’ melatonin. This crucial hormone helps us drop off to sleep, stay asleep, and ultimately get a better night’s rest.
How to use a red night light to help your baby sleep
There are lots of milestones in a child’s life. For parents, the most important milestone is often the moment their baby or child starts sleeping through the night.
Babies need a lot of shut-eye to fuel their developing bodies and brains – with newborns requiring up to 17 hours a day. That said, it’s not always easy to make sure they’re getting it… which can lead to stressed babies, stressed parents, and a very stressed household.
If you’ve got a sleepless newborn, an irritable infant, or a toddler who tantrums at bedtime, don’t panic! The first step is taking a hard look at your baby’s room and making it a place where they’ll want to sleep, somewhere that’s naturally soothing and calm.
How you light your baby’s room can make or break their sleep habits – setting them up for a good night or ruining their rest.
While it’s best to limit the amount of ambient light around the house as you’re putting your baby to bed, a completely dark room isn’t always feasible. Some babies fuss in the dark and might even develop a phobia, while others might like a comforting glow while they nap. On top of this, it’s also just easier in general for parents to navigate the nursery if they have something to see by.
So what to do?
If you want the best night light for your insomniac infant, consider switching out the bulbs in your baby’s room for a red light night light – a low-frequency light that won’t disturb their sleep.
Red light and melatonin
We all operate according to an inner clock, even babies. Our hormones rise and fall throughout the day, with one, in particular, melatonin, letting us know when it’s time to sleep.
Do you know that drowsy feeling you get after dinner? The gradual sleepiness that comes on after the sun goes down? That’s melatonin doing its job.
Unfortunately, melatonin production is sensitive and can be thrown off by a number of factors – too much blue light from screens, not enough natural light during the day, etc. Melatonin levels can even get out of whack from season to season, surging as the winter nights darken and ebbing with the bright summer months.
Interestingly, babies typically start producing melatonin from 9-12 weeks (yet premature infants may take longer). While melatonin supplements are generally well-tolerated for adults, they are not advisable for babies or children. The good news – you can just as easily stimulate your child’s melatonin production by getting them a red light, night light.
Red light at night can help the body naturally produce melatonin and doesn’t interfere with REM sleep, ensuring that your child will not only get more sleep but better quality sleep.
Red night lights to comfort and calm
A sleepless baby is a miserable baby. When they wake (oftentimes shrieking at 3am), you’ll do whatever necessary to soothe them back to sleep…even if it means singing lullabies on loop until dawn.
Studies show that red light is a powerful mood booster, thanks to its calming effects. Red light also mimics the sunset, so babies become more in tune with their natural rhythms. This simultaneously helps create a peaceful, sleepy atmosphere.
The gently lulling effect of red light is even more important in the modern era, where our kids are more exposed to technology than ever before.
Being constantly subjected to the blue light from our televisions, computer screens, and portable devices isn’t ideal for quality sleep. And even if your baby isn’t playing Candy Crush on their tablet (yet), if you have a screen on in the room they’re likely indirectly bathing in undesirable, stimulating blue light.
One way to potentially counter that exposure is by switching over to restful red lights at dusk. A red-lit room will always be preferable in the evenings to help everyone settle into a mellow mindset before sleep.
How to set up your red light baby room
Kids are naturally drawn to color and generally find a red-lit bedroom much more enticing than the standard brightly lit rooms they’re used to. With that in mind, parents shouldn’t run into too many problems switching it up.
There’s a number of red night lights available for nurseries with cute designs and features. Fairies, dinosaurs, animals…whatever your child is into, they’ll love their new night light.
Plug-in red night lights are popular, as well as standard red light lamps. If your child is old enough, you can even let them pick out their own – if they’re more involved in the process, they’re more likely to love their new red room.
If your child is still unsure, try making a game of it. Toddlers love storytime, so try telling them a fairy tale involving their favorite characters who (coincidentally) sleep in a red room. Create a blanket fort around your red lamp. Try cut-out stencils in star shapes or moons to see how the light can make patterns.
A little imagination can lead to a lot more sleep!
Red light for parents and kids
We all want the best for our kids. Fortunately, red lights aren’t just great for your baby…they’re good for you too!
Stumbling into the baby’s room for a late-night feed, only to deal with a diaper disaster (or just struggling to get them settled again), is always jarring. A red night light in the nursery (rather than a glaring blue or white bulb) makes it more likely that you’ll be able to get back to sleep quickly and easily.
Parenthood is challenging enough without throwing sleep deprivation in the mix, so make it easier on yourself with a red light to strive for sleep success for every family member!
We all know sleep is important. Evidence is constantly mounting on exactly how important.
Good sleep hygiene can boost our immune systems, prevent disease, improve our thinking and memory, reduce stress, protect our heart health, and even help us live longer.
It’s even more important for children as bad sleep can affect their mental and physical well-being, starting from birth. As they age, poor sleep can negatively impact their school performance, their ability to make friends, and their physical growth.
A well-rested baby is a healthy baby, and a red night light can help as they develop into healthy kids, healthy teenagers, and healthy adults!