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What is The Best Light Bulb For a Bedroom? (Wattage, Lumens & Color Temperature)


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The best light bulb for your bedroom might not be something that you’ve spent too much time considering. However, as you’re about to find out, it is definitely something you should spend some time thinking about.

Read on to find out all the details on what the best light bulb is for a bedroom. 

The best light bulb for a bedroom is one that sends out around 800 lumens. This is the same as an older lightbulb (incandescent, not LED) of 60 watts. At 800 lumens, the light will be bright enough to read by but won’t be so bright that it makes you too alert that you’ll have a hard time falling asleep. 

Now, there’s quite a lot more that goes into this question than simply the lumens, the wattage and color temperature also matters. If you are interested in learning more, then this blog post is a good place to start.

In the following paragraphs we will break down all the little details that contribute to the perfect lightbulb for your bedroom. 

What is a Lumen?

Get ready for some technical language, because here comes the official definition of a lumen.

“A unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions.”

So what does that mean? Basically, lumens equal brightness. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the bulb is going to be. 

This is an important thing to consider when you are choosing a light bulb for the rooms in your house. For example, a hospital would want bulbs with a high number of lumens so that the doctors can see all the important stuff that they are doing. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you don’t want your bedroom to feel like a hospital, choosing a bulb with less lumens would be the way to go.

Make Sure You Have The Correct Lumens in Your Bedroom

The number of lumens is particularly important in a bedroom. If the light is too bright, this will make you alert and it will make it difficult to drift off to sleep when the time comes. 

On the other hand, you still need to be able to see what you’re doing. Take into consideration the activities you perform in your bedroom besides sleeping. 

Changing in and out of clothes, for example. You can’t afford to go out into the world in a ridiculous outfit just because the light in your bedroom is not bright enough to see yourself in the mirror. 

What do you do before bed? Read a book? Make a to-do list for tomorrow? All of these things are important to consider when choosing a bulb for your bedroom. 

Another useful option could be using dimmable lights. That way, you can adjust the brightness of the light to suit your needs at any time of the day.

What About Wattage? 

First of all, let’s talk about what a watt is. In simple language, a watt is the amount of energy used to light a bulb. In the past, the higher the wattage of a bulb, the more lumens the bulb produced. Meaning that the higher the wattage of the bulb, the brighter the light. 

Over the years, particularly in the last 20 years or so, the wattage of bulbs has changed significantly. As we’ve already spoken about in the beginning of this post, an incandescent bulb of 60 watts would provide you with about 800 lumens. 

However, CFL bulbs and LED bulbs changed everything in this regard. These bulbs are able to produce a comparable amount of lumens at a fraction of the energy cost. 

Nowadays, incandescent bulbs are becoming less and less popular as the more energy efficient LED bulbs have proven their cost effectiveness and practicality. 

To prove this point, a 12 watt LED bulb would most likely give you around 800 lumens. For the same brightness of 800 lumens, a CFL bulb will use 15 watts. Here’s an illustration of the difference in wattage requirement for the various types of bulbs (the brightness number up top = lumens):

That means an LED bulb has an energy saving of a whopping 48 watts compared to an incandescent bulb.  Over the length of a year, that could work out to quite a saving on your energy bill. Especially if you leave your bedroom light on for longer periods of time. It makes sense to fork out that little bit extra for an LED bulb when that old incandescent one burns out. 

What’s The Best Color Temperature For Your Bedroom? 

With the invention of LED bulbs came the concept of color temperature in a light bulb. This basically refers to which end of the light spectrum a particular bulb leans towards? It can be cool, or white, light. Or warm and yellow light. 

You might think a lot of this comes down to personal preference. Which it does up to a degree. But there is also a bit of science that could help you make the right decision. 

Let’s start with how color temperature is measured. The scientists use a unit measurement called kelvin. The more kelvin’s, the cooler, or more blue, the light will appear. The less kelvin’s, the warmer, or more yellow, the light will appear. 

Generally speaking, you want to go for a warmer light in your bedroom. Look for a kelvin rating between 2200k and 3000k. Most people don’t want to wake up in a room that’s very brightly lit. So the warmer lighting can ease the appearance of bright lights. 

As discussed above, dimmable lights will always give you more flexibility with the brightness of the light, but not necessarily the color temperature. 

Why Color Temperature Matters

Now let’s get into the details about why color temperature is important. While there is ongoing research to be done to iron out the particulars, it is generally understood that warmer light is relaxing to humans, and cooler light makes us more alert and focused. 

Following this logic, it would make sense to illuminate your evening areas with warmer light. This will help you wind down after a busy day of living your life. 

Our sleep patterns are largely dictated by our circadian rhythm. This is the function in our bodies that makes us sleepy at night and alert in the morning. It follows the rising and setting of the sun. 

Before electricity, this made sense because we would go to sleep after the sun went down. That warm glow from the setting sun would signal to our circadian rhythm that it’s time to go to sleep. 

Since the invention of electricity, things have changed quite a bit. The setting sun is no longer the signal to humans that it’s time to rest. Now, we go inside and turn on all the lights and spend a few hours staring at a screen. 

Some studies claim that this has completely wrecked our circadian rhythms and the illumination of our homes is the cause of the deteriorating quality of sleep that humans are getting in the modern era. 

While this might not be the case, the logic behind this claim is worth considering. Mimicking that warm glow of a beautiful sunset in our homes at night time can help us wind down. It can signal to our circadian rhythm that it’s time to start doing all the things necessary to put us to sleep. 

You may have noticed that in the last few years your smart phone now has a feature to prevent disturbing your circadian rhythm at night. Many smartphone manufacturers have now added a feature where the color temperature of your screen switches to a warmer color after the sun goes down. 

This is following the research being done on how color temperature affects our circadian rhythm, and subsequently the quality of the sleep we get. 

LED lights is usually sold seperately with different kelvin temperatures, so you can easily pick which ones you think would suit your bedroom the best. Some LED light manufacturers have even made it so you can control the color temperature yourself via an app or a remote control. You can read more about this in my article: Are LED Lights Good For Bedrooms.

Let’s Recap

Optimal Bedroom Light Bulb Lumens

In terms of brightness, 800 lumens is a good starting point for the brightness of the lights in your bedroom. Just make sure that you have enough light for the other activities that you do in your bedroom besides sleeping.

Dimmable lights in the bedroom are a great choice so that you can adjust the brightness according to your activity and the time of day. 

Optimal Bedroom Light Bulb Wattage

The wattage of the bulb you choose will depend on what type of bulb you use. Assuming you are using LED bulbs, 12 watts should do the trick. 

Optimal Bedroom Light Bulb Color Temperature

When it comes to color temperature, the warmer the better in the bedroom. Warm light calms and relaxes us and won’t disturb your circadian rhythm as you are winding down for a night of sleep. Look for a kelvin rating between 2200k and 3000k.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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