When the day is done and you’re starting to feel like you badly need to rest, now’s when you’re hoping for a good night’s sleep. But in this day and age, it’s surprisingly hard to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. And we have junk light to thank for that.
The main culprit of problems like insomnia and poor sleep quality is junk light: man-made light with blue and green hues that tells your body it’s a different time of day than it actually is.
And junk light is everywhere around us today: we stare at the TV or smartphone screen while in bed, there’s street light coming through the windows, and of course, there are bright bulbs in our bathrooms that shake us awake when we want to be winding down.
So what can you do to stop junk light at your home, and make sure you’re getting the sleep you need?
Start from the bedroom
If you want to stop junk light at your home, you need to sleep in complete darkness. This means you’ll have to stop all external light from leaking into your room.
There are a few easy ways to do that:
Use blackout curtains to stop junk light
Blackout curtains are great for stopping street light or other external light from seeping into your bedroom. If you’ve got external light coming in from the rest of the house, you can close the door, and put a rolled up towel or pillow at its base.
Digital clocks and smoke detector lights
You may have light-proofed your bedroom from all outside influences, but you should pay attention to other light sources within the room. Usually, these are smoke detectors and alarm clocks. Since you can’t shut a smoke detector off, you can cover the space where the light is.
If you can avoid sleeping with an alarm clock, that’s the ideal solution. However, if you can’t, get an alarm clock that has red numbers and that’s manually dimmable.
That way, you can keep it dimmed to avoid bright light, and you’ll be less sensitive to red numbers than you will be to blue or green.
Use a lamp
Similarly, if you have a lamp in your room, use a red bulb instead of a white one. It sounds fancy, but you can get a red bulb at bigger hardware stores, and it goes a long way towards stopping junk light and helping you sleep like a baby.
Stop junk light in your bathroom
Even though the bathroom is not as crucial as the bedroom is when it comes to getting good rest, it is the place where you take a shower and brush your teeth before bed. It’s important to keep junk light in check so your internal clock can sense that it’s bedtime.
You can try a red bulb in the bathroom. This can be a red bulb in one of your light sockets, which you’ll use at night.
If you only have one light in your bathroom, make sure it’s a halogen or incandescent. There are options to block blue and green spectrum lights (the ones that are impairing your sleep) by using TrueDark Twilights glasses as you get ready for bed.
Kitchen and living area
Even beyond famous junk light emitters like TV and computers, you’d be surprised at how many little bright lights there are on various appliances. If you want to check, just turn off all the lights and see what glows.
Most lights (microwave clock, oven, coffee maker) and bright blue or green, and those are the worst junk lights you’ll find in your living area. They’re not bad during the day, but you don’t want them shining into your eyes while you’re getting ready to hit the hay.
Even if you don’t notice it, your eyes are taking in that light – and your body is telling your brain it’s daytime, and that you should put the PJs away.
The ideal solution is either to have appliances with red lights or block them out with solid tape.
Since you most likely want to be able to see your microwave clock or other appliance settings, try using TrueDark Dots. They’re stickers that include black block-out and red transparent stickers which will adjust the light your appliances broadcast.
If you’ve got fluorescent bulbs in your kitchen, you can use TrueDark Shields and make sure the artificial light isn’t impairing your circadian rhythm.
Bonus junk light tip
If you want to stop junk light throughout your house, change all of your bulbs.
Get rid of all fluorescent light bulbs, including the “CFLs,” the little pigtail bulbs, and other bulbs that say fluorescent or CFL on the packaging. If you have LED lights, avoid “bright white.”
Make sure you read labels before you buy bulbs, and choose halogen or incandescent since they have a lower blue spectrum and don’t have a great blue junk light risk.
Stop junk light at your home
These changes are simple and easy, and you don’t even have to call your electrician. Just switch bulbs and opt for artificial light-blocking solutions like TrueDark products.
If you do want to tackle a more complex junk light project, an electrician can install dimmer switches throughout your house.
Then, as nighttime approaches, just dim your lights to mimic the sun going down. That’ll encourage your body to start preparing for sleep, ensuring that you won’t have any trouble.
And if you really can’t stay away from Instagram and reading the news before bed, try TrueDark Twilights glasses. They’ll block out the artificial light, get your body ready for sleep, and you won’t even have to give up reading the latest updates from your friends.