falling asleep in total darkness vs. w nightlight

First things first, happy new year everybody, may it be brighter than the last for you. I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon a niche this… constructive and courteous.

I’ve recently realised that I vastly prefer, both in terms of mental welfare and general happiness, as well as in how well rested I feel afterwards; to fall asleep in a well lit room as opposed to falling asleep in total or relative darkness. By well lit I mean proper well lit room, not a nightlight or orange skyglow seeping inside.

I’ve realised this after staying home for one night w/o my s/o, I’ve left both of my LT1s on warm white mode (go team 2500K!) going full bore in the bedroom and I woke up super well rested and after some mental digging I realised that there is a strong historical correlation. My best sleep is in a well lit room. And I do get mad seasonal blues when the nights get long so that might be a factor too.

Also, to quote a social media celeb eye doctor, I was born without a circadian rhythm. When left unchecked my daily cycle drifts steadily until it eventually flips and I sleep during daytime and function in the night, only to slowly return to normal, repeated ad nauseam, losing a day of time per month. So there’s that.

My alternative theory is that this has to do with my occasional sleep paralysis incidents and other creepypasta sleep oddities; perhaps the light lets me feel secure? Not a psychologist.

I’d just like to clarify that this is not to get pity or advice, I’m happy with how things are going for me, this is mostly my curiosity. And some unexpected interospection perhaps.

How about y’all? No light, some light, all the light?

I don’t care. I can sleep anytime I need except rock concerts and similar.
I think, more mess in the head theory creator have, more dumb ideas he create.

I prefer a nightlight in my bedroom and an EDC with a lighted tailcap on my nightstand.

I don’t like total darkness. When I visit my mom and sleep in my old bedroom, there’s not a nightlight and is very dark. So I tail stand my flashlight in moonlight mode to give the room a little light.

I’ve been doing just that during the week I came over for the holidays, ceiling bouncing my PL47 in my old room.

Cześć neighbour! I’m missing the second point probably, sorry…

i keep a small 40W-equivalent LED light across the room to my right side when i sleep. The lamp has a shade so it’s indirect low level lighting.

i’ve noticed from using a 660nm red that my eyes can detect the presence and location of even a very low lumen light with my eyes closed, and especially from about 90 degrees either side there is a sense that it appears a bit brighter…and it appears as a white light, not red…what’s up with that?

But the main reason i leave it on is to be able to see when i wake up in the middle of the night and have to make that trip to the head—if you are an old guy then you know what i mean.

i can detect that lamp with my eyes closed but it doesn’t disturb my sleep.

Sometimes i fall asleep with a somewhat bright 60W reading lamp that’s on my left side—and wake up with it shining right in my face, my glasses still on, and a book in my lap. But it didn’t stop me from sleeping nor wake me, it’s an old guy thing. :laughing:

You my friend are experiencing first hand the uneven distribution of rod and cone cells in your retina. The eye is not akin to a digital camera with an array of identical sensors but rather it’s a complex system optimised over millions of years to favour being able to sense the important things first and foremost.

There’s a region near our centre of vision called the fovea, that has the highest amount of cone cells- those are the reddish, greenish and bluish sensing cells that let those of us fortunate enough to have proper colour vision to, well, see colours and detail. The ability to sense colour though comes at the cost of reduced light sensitivity.

As you go further away from the fovea, towards the edge of your vision, you can notice in full light that if you focus stright ahead, you’re somewhat aware of what’s on your vision’s perifery but you can’t quite put your finger on the exact shapes, details and exact colour. These areas of the retina are populated with cone cells more sparsely, in favour of the rod cells.

The rod cells are what takes care of your scotopic vision, the ability to see in relative darkness, brought to us by our distant relatives needed to be able to see in the moonlight. Colour is not that important so the rod cells are not capable of perceiving it. Perhaps due to the bluish nature of moonlight the rod cells peak in sensitivity around blue-greenish part of the visible light spectrum. That’s why we use red light to preserve our night vision, the theory is that it won’t trigger the bluish-sensitive rod cells that much thus keeping your vision in scotopic mode, the switch isn’t instant.

The brain perceives the information from the rod cells as brightness-only, grayscale if you will, and perhaps due to our association of low light with the bluish moonlight the brain interprets the rod signal as bluish in nature.

On another note, I’ll welcome recommendations on good deep red lights, Andúril needed, Hanklights acknowledged. Andúril because I’m an open source purist and because I want to dual use the red light as a warning strobe for forest walks during hunting season.

Fortunately I’ve been spared of such ailments so far but I understand and empathise.

For safety reasons I nor my wife can sleep in total darkness. We have three dogs and the old one sleeps under the kitchen table every night. The other two take turns picking different spots to sleep; hallway, next to the bed, bathroom hall, etc. Being 100+ pounds it’s not good. I ceiling bounce a light for the last couple of years on the night stand. Astrolux EC06 currently does the job on it’s lowest setting. Before that the Sofirn SP36 Quad XP-L2 or Mateminco MT04 XHP50.2 with 26800. On the lowest settings these lights will go several months between recharges. Real plug in nightlights else where.

i like total dark

though i have put some glow tape markers around the bedroom for sharp corners, door knobs, light switches


Total dark or as close to it as possible is my preference. Ikeep a light with an easily accessed moonlight mode on my lighttable. One that cannot roll off or be easily toppled off… one of my wood lights. :slight_smile:

That said I can sleep in a room that is not totally dark, but I prefer Dark. Room darkening shades are used because of that.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time far away from sources of light pollution, and experienced very deep darkness. Outside it’s breathtaking when the skies are clear and you get to gaze deep into the cosmos. Great for understanding one’s insignificance. Inside though or on cloudy nights the darkness slowly gives way to the indescribable, psychedelic dance of phosphenes that eventually overwhelms my sense of reality. I no longer can discern whether my eyelids are open or shut. Everything becomes awash with fractals of colours I can’t describe. I can’t fall asleep like that and the torch eventually always comes on and stays on till dawn.

Everyone else there though seemed to enjoy the void-like darkness, having no issues going to sleep like that.

I'm non-24, so I frequently sleep during the day, and my bedroom window lets light into my bedroom even though it's mostly blocked.

My solution:

A sleep mask to block all light to my eyes while I sleep.

Prisoner’s cinema is the name of the game.

I prefer total darkness, but had a nightlight for the kitties so they don’t bonk their little heads on anything, even though they can probably see better in the dark than I can. Annoying flicker, so I might unplug it anyway.

I used to never ever be able to fall asleep in front of a teevee, but rare occasions when I’m really spent, yeah, I can drop off, but ideally with enough presence of mind to flick on the teevee’s sleep-timer.

Hate when I miss all my late-night stories, though.

Here, it’s rarely a “normally lit room” because I keep as few lights on as possible.

No light. Took me some time to find the Google Hub 2 for an alarm clock which is dim enough but readable in every light condition.

My goal is to be absolutely blind with fully dark adapted eyes. I’ve eliminated all standby LEDs from my bedroom and got black curtains. Works very well.

m03da, that is a common theme of people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Their bodies often cannot release and relax until there is light. They’ll stay awake all night until the morning sun comes up and they can get that peace to relax. As soon as the light hits, sleep.

I always thought that was a mental function, but psychologists refer to it as a “body” function, not a mind function. I have seen it many times. Not saying that is your case, I am only adding the info to the thread. Not everyone is aware of PTSD, nor the fact that many have found success in addressing it with a mental health professional. I got invited into all of that, along with my wife, with one of my kids, who has gotten better with the mental health work. Truthfully, simply put: I was damned ignorant before, and am grateful that I spent the time in therapy learning how to better act around folks who have issues.

Best to all

Thank you Couchmaster, that’s a very good point. I hope your family is doing well. Myself I’ve had some issues in the past and there might or might not be a link to this strange phenomenon but either way I very much second the call to seek professional help when faced with mental and psychosomatic health issues and to understand that mental and physical well being is very much related to one another. Seeking and accepting help is not a sign of weakness, just as much as seeking medical attention for a broken bone isn’t. Mental health is health.

And it’s equally important to understand how others who might be facing issues themselves might be affected by those issues and by their surroundings.

Thank you for that.

There seems to be two variables here. Having the bed to yourself is likely a large factor IMO.

As for me, I sleep with a 2000k Nichia on a sublumen mode pointed at the wall. This gives just enough to see the other things on the nightstand… Water, phone, other light, G26… Otherwise, darker is better for me, though nothing will stop me from sleeping if I’m tired.

There were two major variables in this particular instance, yes, but it made me look back and connect the dots that I sleep better when the lights are on. Sleeping by myself on the other hand is usually a detrimental factor and was the reason for me to have the lights on in the first place, though by a different thought process.