Brighten Your Days, Improve Your Sleep, and Uplift Your Mood, The Research Life.

One method to help with sleep and uplift mood involves adding bright light to your morning routine. Below, I explain how bright light helps with sleep and some simple ways to get bright light exposure during the day.

bright outdoor sunlight peaking through the forest canopy.
Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

Bright light during the day helps with achieving high quality sleep at night

Bright light, better mood, and better sleep are intertwined

Limit bright light exposure during the nighttime

Tips to take away

A (simplified and poorly drawn) illustration of lamp placement where someone would get direct light exposure (the light reaches the eye) or indirect light exposure (the light is in the workspace, but does not reach the person).
  1. Sleep in a dark room. We all know that it’s easier to sleep in a dark room instead of a bright one. If you tend to be a late riser, you may benefit from blocking outdoor light before you wake up. Try using blackout curtains to block artificial light sources during the night, or use something to cover your eyes (e.g., eye mask, scarf) if you need to.
  2. Limit time with (light-emitting) electronic devices near bedtime. Limiting time with electronic devices before bed is helpful for sleep. At a minimum, I suggest putting away electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Find calmness before bed. Some researchers have suggested that device use before bed may be linked with pre-sleep arousal, or high levels of cognitive agitation. Prioritize activities that help you feel peaceful before bedtime. Some calming activities could include gentle yoga stretches, meditation, or taking a warm shower or bath.
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  1. For a detailed discussion on the neuroscience of light and sleep/wake cycles, see this academic review article.
  2. For an academic review on the effects of light exposure on sleep, see Dr. Figuerio’s article here.
  3. To be sure, the authors also note that it is important to have a light source for navigating during the night if you have to get up to go to the bathroom, for example. It may be helpful to have a dim flashlight near the bed or a red night light in other rooms for easy navigation that is not disruptive to sleep.



healthy sleep advocate | academic sleep researcher & writer | learning time management skills to balance the two

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Emily Hokett

healthy sleep advocate | academic sleep researcher & writer | learning time management skills to balance the two