10 Reasons Why Sleeping With Lights On is Bad for You


woman lying in the sofa under full lights

Have you noticed waking up as soon as sunlight enters your room even on days when you’re off work and decide to sleep in? Most people instinctively respond to this by drawing the bedroom window blinds to darken their environments so they can go back to sleep.

The human body naturally associates darkness with sleeping and views light as the time for staying alert and awake. Thus, we’re biologically wired to sleep much quicker, better, and longer in the night than during the day even if you’re a night shift worker.

So, Is it good to sleep with the lights on? The answer is no, keeping your bedroom lights on can deprive the body of deeper and longer sleep which may result in insomnia. The practice can also result in long-term health complications that can affect your quality of life significantly.

Negatives of Sleeping With the Lights On

Sleeping in the full glare of lightsOpens in a new tab. may harm your life in many ways. Let us dive into a few of the reasons why you should ditch those night lamps and other sources of bedroom nights before hitting the hay each night.

Remember, all of these are possible side effects of a lack of good sleepOpens in a new tab. which becomes inevitable as long as you continue sleeping without turning the lights off.

1.Obesity

Did you know that keeping the lights at bedtime could be one of the reasons why your waistline is expanding rapidly and nothing seems to work? The lack of quality sleep has been linked with weight gain in various studies.

Sleeping with the lights may deprive you of good quality sleep which in turn increases the appetite especially for calorie-laden diets. The result is an increased temptation to eat more which stifles the ability to lose or maintain weight even for those who live physically active lifestyles.

The cycle can continue over many years, ensuring a rapid rise in your body weight and a higher probability of suffering one obesity-related health problem or the other.

2. Depression 

woman feeling depressed

Did you know that keeping the bedroom lights on at night is a leading cause of depression? Well, many of us have experiences of sudden swinging moods after a bad night and the quality of your sleep may be behind that.

According to Harvard Health, depression and related health conditions such as Bipolar and Anxiety are common side effects of poor sleep. Over time, chronic insomnia has the potential to evolve into more complicated long-term mental conditions.

If you’ve been sleeping with the lights on then it is no wonder that your moods turn foul at the slightest opportunity. In most cases, friends and loved ones are forced to feel the brunt of your moods which can sour even the closest relationships.

3. Increased Risk of Accidents 

Do you operate heavy machinery or even drive to work? If the answer is yes, you need the best sleep you can get to stay awake.

Unfortunately, going to bed with the lights on may limit the quality of your shut-eye which can lead to daytime sleepiness. Even if you manage to stay awake, your alertness levels can plummet leading to a higher risk of suffering accidents.

Why do you think some medications for cold and flu warn you to stay off driving and handling other heavy machinery? It is because taking them can induce side effects such as drowsiness which increases the risk of accidents. 

Note that 50 percent of road-related deaths are caused by driver sleepiness and drowsiness so you cannot ignore the risk.

4. Low Libido

Sleeping with lights at bedtime has been linked with low libido in men and women of all ages. This makes sense since mediocre sleepOpens in a new tab. typically results in side effects ranging from depleted energy to sleepiness and bad moods.

Those side effects naturally put the majority of us off sexual desire or at least diminishes our interest in getting freaky.

Additionally, research has shown that getting good quality sleep increases testosterone levels which may inevitably improve sexual desire.

5. Chronic Conditions

A lack of optimum sleep can increase the risk of developing chronic health conditionsOpens in a new tab. in the future. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many heart conditions have all been linked with keeping the lights on at night.

These conditions can significantly impair your quality of life and further decrease the probability of sleeping well at night.

Remember, failure to keep the lights out at bedtime can also disrupt healthy sleep patterns. This may reduce the body’s immunity against infections and diseases, further making you susceptible to developing terrible health sooner than later.

6. Wrinkles and Skin Ageing

Is your skin aging quicker than normal? This could likely be due to a lack of sleep or mediocre sleep quality. This is one of the reasons why sleeping with the lights on is such a bad ideaOpens in a new tab..

Nodding off with the lights on can lead to puffy eyes and other reactions such as dark lines under the eyes and skin wrinkles.

Additionally, the mediocre level of sleep gained from keeping the lights on at bedtime can result in the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. 

7. Cancer

cancer ribbon

Failure to sleep in darkness has been associated with an increased risk of suffering “The Big C” in many instances.

According to research, overexposure to lights especially at bedtime may increase the risk of developing breast cancer in both men and women.

The situation becomes even more critical for those with a history of breast cancer in their families.

8. Fertility

Are you looking to start a family or perhaps expand your current brood? Sleeping with the lights on at night may not be the way to go. We’ve already established the devastating effects of the practice on your health and overall well-being.

But, sleeping under lights can also affect reproductive health by exposing you to excessive amounts of light and disrupting natural sleep cycles.

The result is decreased levels of fertility which can make it difficult to conceive when you’re trying for a baby.

9. Forgetfulness

The link between sleepiness and forgetfulness is evident. When you’re sleepy or feeling drowsy, remembering even the most routine stuff can be a struggle. Sometimes, the ability to do mundane tasks you’ve mastered may produce erratic results at best.

This is another good reason why it is important to sleep without lights. Dark bedrooms at night can offer the superior sleep your body requires to stay awake during the daytime and maintain a sharp memory.

10. Eye Irritation

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with feelings of puffiness and irritation due to the brightness of your bedroom lights? This is because bright lights throughout the night can be very stressful to the eyes.

This is especially true for those with excessively bright bedroom bulbs. If you’ve always slept in the dark in the past, sleeping under lights suddenly can also be irritating. This is why many experts recommend dimmer bulbs if you must sleep in light for one reason or another.

Advantages of Sleeping with Lights

Sleeping with the lights on may not always be doom and gloom. There are a few positives that can be derived from the practice.

Firstly, they can be the perfect remedy to take short naps during the day. If you want to avoid the risk of oversleeping, exposure to significant amounts of light can be the right choice.

Additionally, many toddlers and kids are so scared of sleeping in the darkness that keeping their bedroom lights on is a no-brainer. As they grow older, training them to sleep peacefully in the dark will become easier.

How to Achieve Good Sleep While Keeping the Lights On

OK, so you’re now aware that keeping the lights on at night can lead to terrible sleep. However, you may find yourself in situations where sleeping in darkness may not be an option due to one reason or the other.

Others become so used to sleeping in the full glare of lights at night that the thought of switching them off all of a sudden makes them cringe. If you must keep the bedroom lights on, here are a few tips to ensure minimal sleep disturbance.

1. Keep Out Your Smartphone and Other Gadgets

The blue lights that smartphones and other gadgets emit can be stressful to the eyes especially at bedtime when you’re trying to rest. If you’re fond of keeping the TV on throughout the night, this could explain why you never seem to get enough rest after waking up in the morning.

Artificial lights can be so bad for your sleep that it may increase the risk of gaining weight by 17 percent, according to a study.

2. Dark Window Blinds

woman pulling window blinds

Even if you have to keep your bedroom lights on at night, make sure to draw window blinds designed to provide darkness.

These window blinds come in different colors, textures, and fabrics but we recommend choosing one that blocks sunlight from entering rooms. This is because natural sunlight can be extremely powerful in waking you from the deepest REM sleep. 

This can rob you from gaining that satisfying rest the body requires for all-day productivity. Additionally, make sure those blinds are drawn fully to block out every form of natural light.

I personally recommend the NICETOWN Blackout Curtain BlindsOpens in a new tab. from Amazon to keep your bedroom dark and cozy. I sleep way better and longer since I ordered it 3 months ago.

3. Dim Bedroom Lights

Practice makes perfect, right? Well, if you’re afraid to sleep in total darkness or simply don’t want to ditch your bedroom lights overnight then perhaps you can start by lowering those lights at bedtime.

This means switching to lights that are relatively dimmer than the current one you sleep with. Over time, hitting the hay in total darkness should be easier.

Even kids who may be afraid of complete darkness will be happy to welcome dimmer lights at some point and work their way up towards sleeping under full lights out.

I found the MAZ-TEK Plug-In LED Light with Auto Dusk TO DawnOpens in a new tab. on Amazon. It automatically self-regulates light throughout the night to ensure you can sleep cozy and comfortable at any point in time.

4.Ditch Those Day-time Naps

Daytime naps can be a great way to rest the brain and improve focus levels in the middle of the day. But sleeping for longer periods in broad daylight can disrupt your Circadian RhythmOpens in a new tab. and tell the body that it is OK to get some shut-eye under the full glare of lights.

This can prevent you from enjoying the quality of sleep you truly deserve and may lead to long-term sleep disorders with detrimental effects on the body.

If you must sleep during the day-time, resort to power naps of not more than 25 minutes. That should be enough to give the body a quick injection of energy without affecting your internal sleep clock significantly.

5. Stick to a Normal Sleep Cycle

When it comes to the human body, consistency is always the rule of the game. And that holds especially when it comes to your sleep.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every night is one of the best ways to achieve memorable nights even when you have to keep the lights on. It enables the body to optimize sleep and ensure that you wake up well-rested and fully energized.

6. Lower Your Thermostat

person lowering the thermostat in a bedroom

Cool temperature naturally makes us sleep. By default, the body lowers its temperature to between 1-2 degrees in preparation for nighttime rest. Why do you think nodding off during those hot summer nights can be so hard?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimum temperature for sleep hovers around 65 degrees. So keep that in mind the next time you’re struggling to get into Dreamland.

If you live in a hot region, you may be forced to open the bedroom windows to allow a fresh breeze or turn on the AC to cool up your room.

7. Watch What You Eat at Night

Eating late can be a surefire way to a night of tossing and turning. Even if you have to sleep with your bedroom lights on, it is important to eat at least 2 hours before bedtime.

While sleeping on an empty stomach can have negative effects on your sleep, eating a full meal right before jumping into bed can lead to indigestion and other problems that distort sleep.

Have you read the article we wrote on going to bed on a full stomach? Click here to check it out.

8. Quit The Caffeine

Drinking several cups of coffee throughout the day can also limit the ability to enjoy a good night of sleep. Ideally, quitting coffee is the best way but if you’re a coffee nut who cannot realistically quit anytime soon, it is important to drink no more than 4 cups a day.

Additionally, make sure to drink the last cup at least 6 hours before your regular bedtime. This should give enough time for the effects of the caffeine to wear off before hitting the hay. 

9. Engage in a Relaxing Pre-bedtime Routine

What do foot massages, hot baths, reading, and meditating all have in common? They can offer deep mind relaxation for effortless sleep.

If you must go to bed with the lights on then engaging in a relaxing activity right before sleep can be a great idea.

By the time your body lands on the bed, the brain would have released the right levels of the relaxation hormone known as melatonin. This should make drifting off to sleep much easier.

10. Exercise

Exercise is another great way to set up the body for relaxing sleep. It is important to find the time to hit the gym early in the morning to clear the mind and give you a great head start for the day.

However, light physical activity such as walking the dogs in the evening can also boost your ability to sleep.

Making love with your partner at bedtime may be another great way to sleep well and wake up buzzing to go and conquer the world.

11. Wear Your Sleep Mask

Sleep masks can offer some relief from bright bedroom lights if you must keep them on at night for any reason. These masks can protect the eyes from the light’s rays and give you the feeling of sleeping in total darkness.

The good news is that sleep masks come in different shapes, sizes, and brands. Thus, everyone gets to choose the perfect option for their needs without problems.

The Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep MaskOpens in a new tab. is the number-one rated on Amazon right now. I personally use it regularly during long-haul flights and bus journeys. It feels comfortable on the eyes and provides an illusion of total darkness even in bright light environments.

Conclusion

Looking for the best sleep you can get? It is important to target dark and cool environments.  Remember, going contrary to that can rob you from getting maximum sleep satisfaction.

However, other activities can enhance your sleep even if you’re unable to ditch bedtime lights for any reason.

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