Scientists have begun to study the effects of artificial “blue” light, broadly concluding that it has completely changed our sleep cycles. Viewing screens at night (as we all do) can restrict melatonin and make the brain more alert. Blue light, the wavelength of visible light that can hamper our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, is emitted through smartphone screens, incandescent lightbulbs, and pretty much all interior lighting, except for, guess what? Candles. Candles emit NO blue light at all, thus making them ideal for illuminating your evenings and improving your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, according to National Geographic, browsing a tablet can delay sleep 96 minutes, scrolling Instagram can put off shuteye for 67 minutes, and staring into an incandescent lightbulb can keep you awake for another 55 minutes (if that’s how you choose to spend your precious post-work hours).
We devised an example bedtime routine to put into practice to help you get the most out of your (ideally) 8-10 hours of sleep. Of course, this is a luxurious dream routine, especially when you have children/a job/any responsibility at all, but maybe something that can be accomplished at least once a week. You must begin the routine two hours before you hit the sack to completely “flush” the blue light out of your system.
- Put away all devices and turn off all screens and lights (yes, Netflix counts as a screen).
- Do 5 minutes of light stretching.
- Draw a warm bath sprinkled with a generous amount of lavender bath salts. Don’t turn on the bathroom light—instead, light some candles for ambiance.
- Soak in the tub for 30-45 minutes, focusing on your breath, the warmth of the water on your skin, the flickering of the flames.
- Don the comfiest pajamas you own, and make yourself a hot cup of calming chamomile tea.
- Grab a good book, find a comfy spot to park yourself, light some candles, and read for 30-45 minutes.
- Get under the covers 10 minutes before bedtime, extinguish your candles, close your eyes, and let your mind drift off to sleep.
So, turn off your iPhone (or at least put it on silent), and let yourself be mesmerized by the warm glow of your favorite bougie candle. But don’t you dare post an Instastory about it.