Reduce Your Exposure to This at Night for Better Sleep (Sleep Series Part 3)
Sleep Series Part 3 Indoor Lighting
I used to only buy full spectrum lights. They’re just so much brighter and I can see better at night, especially in the bathroom and kitchen.
While I can definitely see better and in more detail with these lights, they aren’t the lights you want on at night, close to bedtime, after the sun goes down.
The harsh blue light emitted by fluorescent and full spectrum lights shuts down melatonin production in our body and stops a major repair and rejuvenation pathway.
Those of your who work in the office until late at night under those ridiculous florescent lights aren’t doing yourselves any favors. Not only are the fluorescent lights stopping the hormones that help you sleep, repair and rejuvenate, but the computer screens are adding to the problem and also likely to keep your cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) high at the exact time when it’s supposed to be plummeting to it’s lowest levels.
For those who work second and third shift, well, you are in a category of work that’s classified as a probable human carcinogen.  Shift workers or anyone working at night must absolutely pay attention to the ways to reduce exposure to the wrong types of light at night. Yes, there is a way to do this, even if you work at night.
At night we want yellow, amber and red lights.
We want moonlight and firelight. These are the colors of light we evolved with. Our bodies and eyes actually have receptors for various colors of light. These receptors tell our body to make certain changes through our hormones.
We do not want blue and white lights shining in our eyes after dark. The white and blue send the wrong signals to our bodies and lead to problems.
When the sun dips below the horizon and it’s dark, we should only see the moonlight and firelight or darkness. The darkness and firelight colors – red, yellow and orange, tell our body to release melatonin and begin getting ready to sleep and repair.
In the morning, the bright sun and daytime light contain blue and white lights, telling cortisol to increase, melatonin to drop and help our body wake up and get us prepared for the day. 
Our life indoors allows us to radically alter the type, timing, intensity, and color of light we are exposed to. This can wreak havoc on our sleep and health if you allow the wrong type of light into our environment.
We can do better. This human engineered habitat we now live in can be changed to work with our biology and make us healthier and maybe even live longer!
Here’s How I Set Up My Own Home
At home, it can be relatively easy to modify your environment to work with your biology.
In my bedroom, I installed red LED lights in my bedside lamps. I use these for reading at night before bed. I also installed a red LED nightlight in the bathroom.
In my kids bedroom I put a red LED light on their dresser lamp and in their Himalayan salt rock nightlight for them as well. They still have regular bulbs in the main room lamp, but close to bedtime, we switch to the all red LEDs in their room.
You could install regular soft white, yellow or amber incandescent or halogen bulbs in your bedroom. These do still emit some blue light, but far less than a typical white light or standard LED bulb or compact fluorescent bulb. While LEDs and fluorescents save energy, and are great to use in the morning, daytime or early evening. They aren’t recommended for your bedroom or for after dark.
In our home we do have some bright LED recessed lighting in the kitchen and dining room, but we have replaced living room and kitchen pendant lighting with softer yellowish incandescent bulbs. We use these incandescent bulbs at night before bed and keep the whiter LED bulbs off. The incandescent bulbs aren’t as energy efficient as the LEDs, but provide a light that gives off less blue light and some infrared heat (which all light sources during our evolution would have done). We only use these lights for a couple hours before bed, so the increased cost of using them is negligible.
Kill LED light Sources
Even small amounts of blue wavelength light can interrupt our sleep and melatonin release. I make sure to cover up any extraneous sources of LED lights in the bedroom. I have removed alarm clocks from our room, but do have them in our kids room. We purchased these orange/red LEDs clocks for the kids so the red light would not mess with their melatonin and they could still know what time it was when they woke up (they love coming into our bedroom at 2am or 4am and having them know what time it is makes a huge difference in when they wake us up in the morning).
If you have a TV in your bedroom, well, let’s not go there. You should not have a TV in your bedroom.
The one LED light that is constantly on or blinking on and off in many bedrooms and hotel rooms is the light from the smoke alarm. This may seem trivial, but with a little electrical tape, it’s so easy to cover up that you might as well do it.
Try not to plug in your laptop to charge overnight in the bedroom because the power bricks or the laptop have very bright glowing LED lights on them. You can charge in another room, or at least cover the light up with electrical tape or a towel.
Blackout Your Bedroom
Creating a truly black environment, as in you can’t see your hand in front of your face, is the ideal way to set up your sleeping space.
My wife falls into the closet doors a lot trying to navigate the room at night and is all WTF, where is the door out of here, but hey, it really does make a difference in sleep quality. We should only expose ourselves to moonlight or blackness when we sleep if we want to get the maximum benefit from our downtime and increase our longevity and resistance to disease.
You should ideally buy a proper fitting set of Blackout shades. However, depending on the age of your house or apartment, it is really tough to buy shades that truly black out all outdoor light. We live in an environment with light pollution at night. Street lights, city lights, neighbors lights all creep into our bedrooms and affect our sleep quality.
Personally, we use blackout shades, but still get some light leaking past the shades from street lamps and the extra bright hockey arena lights from across the street. Even though the lamps are across the street, and our house backs up to an open space park with no lights, we still get enough light in the windows that it brightens up the room at night.
If you don’t have blackout shades, you can supplement with hanging blankets or sheets over the windows at night. Here is a Paleo Hacker forum response detailing numerous ways to black out your windows at night: Paleo Hacker Window Black Out
I also cover up all sources of light inside my bedroom, from the green LED in the smoke detector, to the alarm clock and smart phone lights. Black electrical tape is nice to have on hand to cover up many of these sources.
We already talked about how to install F.lux and twilight on your devices to minimize blue light at night coming from your phone and computer. Device Hacking Article
Turn off your WIFI at night too!! Reduce your exposure to non-native EMF .
Catch All Hack For Blocking Blue Light
Of course, those of us who do work in an office or manufacturing plant at night, have no choice about the lighting we are exposed to. And some of us just can’t cut out all the blue light sources in our homes at night.
Even if you do cut out sources of blue light at night, unless you live in a rural area and allow just moonlight to filter into your house at night, it’s still a good idea to wear the blue blocking glasses to ensure we get appropriate melatonin production.
If you are at work at night, keep a pair of the glasses in your bag or desk and bring them out after dark. I know you may look a little odd, but your health is at stake here. I would rather look a little silly and know I am helping my body detox and be more resilient against disease and stress than shut down my melatonin production.
Some of you, like I used to do, have to work in a manufacturing environment on second or third shift. When I did this, I had to wear safety glasses just to be allowed in the front door of the facility. The plant always had pairs of glasses sitting in a box by the door. However, we also were issued our own pair that we kept with us, and if we asked, we could order our own special pairs that fit better.
Ask your manager if they can issue you a pair of orange tinted blue blocking safety glasses. The UVEX blue blocking glasses I use are approved safety glasses for most environments. If they won’t buy them for you, ask if you can buy your own and purchase a pair of approved glasses for the environment you work in.
- Use candle light and firelight at night. Our ancestors did this for millenia. These types of light give off infrared heat and light that we don’t get from typical indoor lighting. Likely infrared light has some beneficial impacts on our biology.
- Get some black electrical tape and tape over all LED sources in your bedroom.
- Grab a couple red or amber lights for your bedroom and bathroom. Install these lights in your bedside lamps and this nightlight from BULLETPROOF in the bathroom.
- Get some blackout shades or find another way to keep your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
- Wear your blue blocking glasses. Especially if you are going to watch TV or use a screen of some sort close to bedtime.
- Avoid staring into bright screens within 2 hours of bedtime. If you have to, use a ZEN TECH screen filter from BULLETPROOF or an app like F.lux to filter out the blue light or wear your glasses.
- Check out this 2 minute video from LondonReal on sleep hacking.
Part 7- Hack Your Sleep With Sleep Tracking