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New Lightbulbs Could Change the Way You Sleep

Photograph by Twenty20

We've all heard warnings about how messing around on our cellphones in bed is keeping us from quality shut-eye. Turns out, our reading lights might also be doing us no favors and contributing to chronic sleep-deprivation. Lights that are too bright are a no-no in terms of setting oneself up for quality sleep. But another factor, a light's color temperature, may be even more important.

Bulbs with different color temperatures have been available for a while now, but you had to sort of pick the temperature and live with it. TechCrunch is reporting that Philips recently released the 2.0 version of its line of lightbulbs with adjustable color temperatures. Like a dimmer switch, the user can set the bulbs anywhere from 2200K and 6500K. The latest models also have an adjustable "routine" mode, which lets you gradually brighten the lights when you wake up or dim them in the evening.

Scientists and sleep experts have known for awhile that certain light colors negatively affect sleep. The worst light color for the brain is blue, which is what your iPhone mostly emits and why everyone's always saying not to go on Facebook right before bed. The second most sleep-interrupting light color is white.

Surprisingly, the best light color before bed is red.

The adjustable color temperatures in the new Philips Hue lightbulbs allow you to "dim" to red in the evenings and blue in the mornings. For parents, this is helpful for the kids' sleep routines: red lights for night reading, blue in the morning to get out of bed and get moving.

The new bulbs don't yet have a price tag, but the first iteration of their Hues lights were $60 per bulb. Kind of expensive for a kid's nightlight. So while you won't likely refit the entire house with color temperature specifying bulbs, investing in bedside lights might help parents bank more than six hours' sleep a night, which we recently learned is like getting no sleep at all.

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