Choosing a Night Light for Your Nursery: What Color Light Helps Baby Sleep?

Written by: Julian Wood



Time to read 5 min

Science shows that different color lights can help your baby sleep, while others might stimulate the brain and make it harder for your baby to settle down. To promote the best possible sleep for your little one, it's important to choose the right night light for your nursery.

Finding the right color for your nursery night light is essential to creating a calm and restful sleep environment for your little one. Below, we'll discuss the different types of night lights and how each color can impact your baby's sleep quality.

What Color Night Light Helps Babies Sleep?

Research indicates that red or warm orange (amber) lights are the most conducive to sleep for both babies and adults. Red and orange lights have been shown to have a minimal impact on your baby's ability to fall and stay asleep.

When selecting a night light for your nursery, opting for a light with a soft red or warm orange hue can create a calming environment, making it easier for your baby to drift off to sleep.

Why Does Amber & Red Light Help?

Amber and red lights are beneficial for sleep because they have longer wavelengths compared to other light colors.

Shorter wavelengths, such as blue and white, are known to suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to shorter wavelength light can trick the brain into thinking it is daytime, making it harder for babies to fall asleep.

Amber and red lights, on the other hand, have been shown to have minimal impact on melatonin levels, thereby supporting the natural sleep rhythm.

These warm colors can promote more restful and uninterrupted sleep by minimizing the disruption of your baby’s circadian system.

Can Some Colors Disrupt Babies Sleep?

Yes, certain light colors can indeed disrupt your baby's sleep. Lights in the blue and white spectrum are particularly disruptive.

These colors emit shorter wavelengths that can significantly suppress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Melatonin is crucial for controlling sleep-wake cycles, and its suppression can cause your baby's brain to misinterpret the time of day, leading to difficulties in falling and staying asleep.

Even brief exposure to these lights in the evening can be enough to delay sleep onset and decrease sleep quality.

White Light

White light can be especially harsh on babies' eyes, making it even more difficult for them to fall and stay asleep.

Unlike the softer hues of red and amber, white light contains multiple wavelengths, including a significant amount of blue light. This blue light component has a notably high intensity, which can be particularly straining on a baby's developing eyes.

Additionally, white light's potent glare can create an overstimulating environment, making it harder for your baby to relax and settle down for the night.

Purple Light

While purple light can be aesthetically pleasing and might create a visually soothing environment, it can be too stimulating for your baby's eyes and disrupt their sleep.

Purple light falls in a part of the spectrum that includes shorter wavelengths, which, like blue light, are known to suppress melatonin production. This suppression can interfere with your baby’s ability to fall asleep and maintain a restful sleep cycle.

Exposure to purple light in the evening or at night can make winding down difficult and may cause your baby to experience frequent awakenings throughout the night.

Though it may look nice, using purple light in your nursery is not advisable if the goal is to promote healthy sleep patterns.

Blue Light

Blue light is perhaps the most disruptive light color when it comes to sleep. This is because blue light increases alertness, making it exceptionally challenging for your baby to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Exposure to blue light in the evening suppresses melatonin production more significantly than any other type of light, confusing your baby's internal clock.

The heightened state of alertness can cause restlessness, resulting in your baby taking longer to fall asleep and experiencing more frequent awakenings throughout the night.

When Should You Introduce a Night Light in the Nursery?

Introducing a night light in your baby's nursery can be beneficial from an early age, particularly during nighttime feedings and diaper changes, to create a consistent and calming environment. It can also be a good idea to get infants used to sleeping in environments other than a perfectly dark room.

However, many parents start using night lights when their baby is around 6 months old, as this is typically when sleep training begins, and a soothing light can help minimize disruptions.

The key is to use a night light that emits a warm, soft amber or red night light to avoid overstimulation and support healthy sleep patterns. Always monitor your baby's response to the night light and make adjustments as needed.

Final Thoughts: Creating a Restful Sleep Space for Your Baby

Selecting the right night light with a soft amber or red hue can create a calm and soothing environment, promoting better sleep. These colors have minimal impact on melatonin production, which is vital for maintaining healthy sleep-wake cycles.

By opting for simplicity and avoiding overstimulating features, you can ensure a peaceful atmosphere that supports restful and uninterrupted sleep.

Find more helpful tips and advice for new parents on our Sleep Centre blog, with new posts uploaded regularly.


Is Green Light Good for Baby Sleep Spaces?

Green light is not optimal for baby sleep spaces as it can suppress melatonin production. It falls into a shorter wavelength category, similar to blue light, which can disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult for your baby to fall and stay asleep. Red or amber lights are preferable.

What is the Most Relaxing Color Light for Babies Sleep?

The most relaxing color light for babies' sleep is red or warm amber. These colors don't significantly suppress melatonin production, helping maintain healthy sleep-wake cycles. Their soft, calming hues create a serene environment conducive to restful and uninterrupted sleep, making them ideal for nursery night lights.

What is the Best Color Room for a Baby to Sleep In?

The best color for a baby’s sleep room is a soft, warm hue like beige or light yellow. These neutral tones create a calming environment, help reduce overstimulation, and promote restful sleep by minimizing the effect on your baby’s circadian rhythm.

What Age Should a Child Stop Using a Night Light?

Children can use a night light as long as they feel comfortable and secure with it. There's no strict age to stop, but many children outgrow their need for a night light by the age of 8-10 as they become more confident and less fearful of the dark.