Discover the Best Lighting for Night Shift Workers
Learn about the best lighting for night shift workers. This post explores your options and the science behind light therapy for optimal sleep and productivity.
There’s no doubt about it. Night shifts are tough. The natural programming of your body means you sleep at night and stay awake during the day.
One of the biggest hurdles as a night shift worker is getting enough good sleep during the day. But did you know that the type of lighting you use at work can influence your sleep quality? And that’s where the best lighting for night shift workers comes in.
As a night shift worker, you’re a hero for keeping the world going while most are asleep. And that’s why we wrote this article — to help you boost work productivity while staying healthy.
Why is the proper lighting for night shift workers important?
Your body has a 24-hour internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. It’s what regulates your sleep and wake cycle. Working the night shift can throw off this clock, resulting in the following:
Negatively impact your overall health
To prevent these, make sure you have a sleep-friendly environment during the day. And get exposure to proper lighting in your workspace at night.
Working in a dim space may strain your eyes, and make you less alert. Bad lighting can prevent you from staying up and concentrating. This can spell doom for your work productivity and efficiency. And the right lighting might help you dodge these problems.
On the flip side, exposure to bright, cool light may keep you up and sharp. This type of light mimics natural daylight. And in case you’re unaware, sunlight plays a major role in regulating your internal clock.
The right lighting helps you adapt to a night shift timetable. It can potentially enhance your daytime sleep quality and lower your risk of sleep issues and other health concerns.
What’s light therapy for shift workers?
Light therapy, a.k.a. bright light therapy, is a non-invasive treatment using light wavelengths to help regulate your circadian rhythm. It’s based on the concept that exposure to bright, cool light may reset your body clock. And it may improve your sleep and well-being.
If you're working the night shift, light therapy can help you adjust to your work schedule. Soak up bright, cool light while you're on the clock to keep you awake and boost your focus. Plus, it’ll help you nod off faster and catch some solid zzzs during the day.
It’s also useful when it's time to shift schedules. According to Sleep Foundation, bright light therapy in the mornings helps adjust your body clock. You’ll wake up and sleep earlier. Meanwhile, therapy in the evening results in a later schedule. This makes it easier to adapt to an approaching night shift(1).
It's important to note that not all light therapy lamps or light boxes are created equal. It should emit an intensity of about 10,000 lux. And filter out harmful UV rays. The duration and timing of light exposure are also important, as these may influence the effectiveness.
What are the types of lighting for night shift workers?
Wondering how to choose the best lighting for your night shift? You've got a couple of choices. Check out these types and their benefits:
LED lights: They’re energy-efficient and emit a bright, cool light that’s similar to natural daylight. They also last longer and produce less heat compared to other types of lighting.
Full-spectrum lights: These are designed to replicate the natural light spectrum. They offer a balanced and comfortable light source for your workspace. They may help improve mood and boost productivity and focus during the night shift.
Blue light therapy devices: These emit a specific wavelength of blue light that’s been shown to help you concentrate and stay alert. They’re particularly helpful for those who struggle with daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
When picking the right lighting for your night shift, think about brightness, color temperature and length of exposure. Don't forget that what works for one person might not for another. Keep that in mind as you figure out the perfect lighting setup for you or your office.
What are the benefits of light therapy for night shift workers?
You might be wondering how light therapy can benefit you. Here are a few of the most significant benefits of light therapy for night shift workers:
Improved sleep: Exposure to bright, cool light during the night shift helps regulate your circadian rhythm. This makes it easier for you to drift off faster and stay asleep during the day.
Increased alertness and concentration: Light therapy may help improve your mental focus. This helps you stay productive despite working into the wee hours of the night.
Enhanced mood: Light therapy has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. This is particularly beneficial for night shift workers who have existing mood disorders.
There are a variety of light therapy gadgets on the market. This includes light boxes, lamps, and even wearable tech. Just make sure you pick one that gives off the right light wavelength, keeps UV rays at bay and fits your unique requirements.
Night Shift Light: How To Choose The Right One
Here are some tips to help you choose the best lighting solution for your needs:
Consider the brightness: Make sure the light source is bright enough to keep you alert and focused during your night shift.
Pay attention to color temperature: Look for a light source with a cool color temperature (around 5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin). As we mentioned earlier, this imitates natural daylight to help regulate your internal clock.
Think about your workspace: Consider the size and layout of your workspace. You may need multiple lights or a combination of lighting to create the right environment.
Check for UV protection: Make sure what you choose filters out harmful UV rays to protect your eyes and skin.
Consider portability: If you work in multiple locations or need to move around a lot, choose a portable and lightweight option.
Night Shift Lighting Tips for Work
To create a comfortable and productive workspace for your night shift, consider the following tips:
Combine your lighting: Balance the lighting in your workplace by using a mix of ambient, accent and task lighting.
Adjust your lighting: Go for dimmable lights or lamps with adjustable brightness settings. This gives you the option to customize your lighting according to your needs.
Remove glare: Position your lights so as to minimize glare on your computer screen or work surface.
Create a consistent lighting environment: Lessen eye strain and fatigue by maintaining a consistent level of brightness and color temperature throughout your work area.
Sleep Tips for Night Shift Workers
As a night shift worker, the right lighting in your workplace isn’t enough to improve sleep quality. Incorporate good sleep hygiene to complement your lighting changes.
Use a sleep-friendly light source.
If you need to use a light during the day (for example, when getting ready for work), choose a dim, warm light source that won't disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Block out daytime light when it’s time to hit the sack.
Blackout curtains or shades help block out natural light during the day. Better yet, a more inexpensive but not less effective option: a 100% light-blocking sleep mask.
You may also want to invest in a pair of blue light-blocking glasses. Wear these when you get home to minimize your exposure to light before you hit the hay.
Why not consider one of ours? We designed most Manta Sleep eye masks to block out 100% of light. Here’s a customer favorite:
Made for side sleepers but works with any sleeping position
C-shaped eye cups with a smart air bubble that compresses to keep the light out as you shift sides
Tapered eye cups for zero pressure on the eyes and lashes
Fully adjustable head strap and eye cups for a custom fit
Sleep mask pro
“As a shift worker, I have struggled with sleeping through the day or taking naps before I start nights. The Pro sleep mask has been great for me, as a side sleeper I find it very comfortable. It really does turn day into night.”
— Grant P.
I absolutely love my Manta Sleep Pros.
“I just wanted less light when getting home from night shifts. I didn’t realize how much better quality the rest would be without micro-breaks in REM that would have otherwise been unnoticed.”
— Calvin G.
LOOOVE This mask
“I am a side sleeper and this mask is amazing!!! It stays in place, blocks out all light and doesn't put any pressure on my eyes at all. It is a little expensive but if you need to block out the light, it's worth the price. If you are a grave shift working side sleeper, you need this mask. Definitely glad I bought it!”
— Lisa H.
“I have the purple one with tapered eye pieces. Because I sometimes work nightshift and have to sleep all day, I love the proper blackout for day-sleeping!”
— Ashleigh R.
Develop and stick to a bedtime routine.
Apart from sleeping and waking up at the same time daily, create a consistent pre-bedtime routine. This will signal your body that it's time for sleep. Activities like dimming the lights, reading a book under a warm light, meditation or listening to relaxing music or white noise.
That said, why not give Manta SOUND Sleep Mask a shot? This Bluetooth sleep mask with headphones also has a 100% light-blocking feature.
Razor-thin adjustable speakers for side sleeping comfort
C-shaped eye cups taper at the sides for minimal bulk
20+ hours of battery life
100% machine-washable inner layer
Intuitive controls at the front of the mask
Great for listening to white noise or relaxing sleep music and podcasts
What Customers Have to Say:
“I’m a night shift worker and have Ménière’s disease so I have a very difficult time going to sleep. After seeing an ad, I skeptically ordered one, not really expecting to find it useful. I was so wrong! I now look forward to bed after my shift. The total blackout and the ability to use Bluetooth to help alleviate the roaring sound in my ear is a game changer for me. I now am able to get a better “nights” sleep now. This is one of the best investments I’ve made. Thank you!”
Great for shift workers
“I’m a paramedic and I use this for sleeping during the day for night shift. It’s great. I can listen to something relaxing and not be woken up by my wife doing activities of daily life. Comfortable, long lasting battery. No need for blackout curtains or tiptoe around the house”
— Aaron A.
“I got these a couple days ago and Lordy Lordy what a magnificent gift they are!! I’m a shift worker and a light sleeper and over the years I’ve tried almost every sleep mask, every ear plugs and every audio earplugs known to man! Well let me just tell you they all pale in comparison to the Manta sleep mask sound!!
✅ No sore ears in the morning
✅ No waking during the night with pain or discomfort
✅ No slipping around of the mask
✅ Complete blackness no matter what angle I sleep
✅ Perfect sound quality (even with earplugs)
I honestly have no complaints!! They are absolutely perfect!!!”
— Sharon C.
“I've actually been sleeping better than I ever have. There is constant construction going on in my building, and I'm a very light sleeper. I work evening shift, so renovations that start at 9am are the middle of the night for me. But using the Sound mask helps me focus on white noise that helps me sleep instead of the sound of hammering and drilling. I don't think I could ever go back to using a basic sleep mask again.”
— Julie B.
To sum it up, having the best lighting for night shift workers is crucial for keeping you healthy and efficient. Seriously, don't underestimate the impact of the right lighting. Choose your sleep products wisely as they can make a positive difference to your sleep quality and night shift productivity.
We hope this blog post helped you understand the ins and outs of light therapy. We’re curious to know how light therapy works for your journey to better sleep. Let us know by dropping a comment below.
(1) “Treatments for Shift Work Disorder.” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/shift-work-disorder/treatment. Accessed 08 June 2023.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.