Can red spectrum light help you sleep?
There’s not a whole lot of research over whether this is a viable natural insomnia treatment.
But the little bit of evidence we do have is encouraging.
It appears as if red light therapy has merit.
Of course more studies are needed.
But red light therapy seems like a safe and non-invasive way to potentially sleep better.
Many people who suffer from chronic insomnia have tried all kinds of natural remedies.
I know I did.
Some of them didn’t work. (So it’s good to know that red light therapy has some science behind it.)
Some of them worked for just a little while.
At least one of them was counterproductive.
But eventually I found the right combination of natural remedies that worked for me.
After coming out the other side, and able to sleep again, I’m a big fan of natural sleep remedies.
I’m not saying drugs should never, ever be used.
Insomnia does terrible things to your body, as well as your mind.
So someone might temporarily take drugs to get a few precious hours of sleep.
But sleep drugs are still not a good long term solution. They are potentially habit forming.
Also, sleeping pills don’t result in restful, natural sleep. So you can never quite shake that overtired, overwrought feeling.
Red Spectrum Lights for Sleep
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With so little research (at least to date) red light therapy is based on theory.
The theory is that exposure to red light helps you naturally produce more melatonin.
That’s why you’ll find a growing array of red light therapy products on the market, including nightlights that emit red light, which you can see below.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep wake cycle.
People who have trouble sleeping have been found to have lower levels of this hormone, compared to the rest of the population.
This is why you’ll see all kinds of melatonin supplements. These are taken on the belief that they’ll help you sleep, by putting more circulating melatonin in your bloodstream.
However, melatonin supplements are controversial. Most health experts recommend not taking them long term, if at all.
There is no evidence they can solve a long-standing insomnia problem.
Melatonin pills may be okay for a quick fix. Such as when you’re traveling to a different time zone and need a crutch to help get a good night’s sleep, according to the website Johns Hopkins Medicine.
But it’s widely agreed that a better strategy is to find ways to boost your own melatonin levels naturally.
Just so you know, I did try melatonin tablets when my insomnia was at its worst. During the day I worried how well I’d sleep that night. Then I’d lie awake worrying I wouldn’t get enough sleep and thinking of all the things I needed to do the next day.
Melatonin did work really well. For a night or two.
Then it actually seemed to keep me awake, and make me jittery.
So I’d have to agree (based upon personal experience) that melatonin is a short-term fix, at best.
One review published in the Nutrition Journal found no evidence that melatonin supplements improved the sleep/wake cycle. However, they had some potential in helping travelers work through jet lag.
Which is why anything that raises melatonin naturally seems more promising.
So what do we know about red light therapy?
Can Red Light Therapy Help You Sleep?
The research is still scarce. So the theory that red light can help you sleep hasn’t been proven.
But one study that appeared in the Journal of Athletic Training found that healthy female athletes exposed to full body red light over a period of 14 days enjoyed better sleep and healthier melatonin levels, compared to athletes not exposed to any sort of artificial light.
The authors concluded that red light therapy was an effective way to improve sleep, without drugs.
Red Light vs Blue Light for Sleep
Red spectrum light is associated with better sleep.
But blue light is the enemy of good sleep.
In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid exposure to this frequency late at night, according to the Harvard Health Letter.
One suggestion is to step away from blue-light emitting computer screens a couple of hours before bedtime.
If this isn’t possible, you may want to think about a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
You can also find red light nightlights online.
For More Information
You may also like Bedtime Habits That Help You Sleep.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.