Light, Sleep & School-Aged Children: A Complex Relationship

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with little or no natural sunlight, or dimly lit classrooms.

Studies of teenagers found that those who wore blue-light filtering glasses in the morning  went to bed later and got less sleep overall  than those who did not wear blue-light filtering glasses.

The right kind of light in classrooms also has the potential to help students learn. We know that better sleep leads to improved memory, concentration, social interactions and more. But a newer field of research is exploring how light may directly influence learning—not just through better sleep, but by activating the brain  during class time .

The questions being investigated in this field include: 


  • Does certain lighting improve perception, concentration and working speed for students?
  • Is certain lighting better for social interaction and collaborative work?
  • What is the optimal design for school buildings and classrooms to take advantage of natural light and views of green spaces?


One idea being tested is the use of “dynamic lighting”—lighting with different settings that can be changed by the teacher throughout the day depending on the task students are engaged in. This makes sense, given the power of light with respect to the internal clock and behavior. Eventually, we may know which light improves focus and accuracy, and which light promotes communication and cooperation. All will add to this growing field and help us understand and design light in our homes, schools, offices, and beyond that not only better our sleep, but our overall health and wellness.

Practice Sleep-Friendly Light Patterns

Follow these four simple steps to make sure light helps, not hurts, your child or teen’s sleep.


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