Sleeping Better with Smart Lighting: Smarter “Go to Bed” and “Wake Up”

We spend 36% of our lives asleep, and while the average sleep period has decreased over the last 60 years, neuroscience is discovering more and more how important sleep is for our well-being. Can smart lighting help us to sleep better and wake up more energized?

For a general introduction to smart lighting, please see Introduction to Smart Lighting: A Very Brief History of Light.

Why do we sleep?

Amongst many theories which are heavily debated, there seem to be some no-brainers: We restore our brains during sleep, clearing out the waste which has accumulated over the day between our brain cells. We save energy during our rest, and last but definitely not least, we are consolidating what we have learned throughout the day and become more creative.

Our body-clock works independently from our work-schedules and sleep deprivation is nowadays a common phenomenon in huge parts of our society, leading to accidents due to fatigue.

Smart Lighting and Sleep

With smart lighting, we can finally support the process of falling asleep and waking up, making up for the sleep-damage the dumb light bulbs in our homes have created over the past century. Light is deeply connected with our body-clock. Reducing our exposure to light for at least half an hour before going to bed will make us feel tired. Increasing light in the morning will make us feel more energized for the day.

There are many ways to configure wake up and good night routines with smart lighting. Let’s examine those options with Philips Hue to schedule routines for going to bed and getting out of bed more easily, supporting healthy sleep.

Philips Hue Routines

Philips Hue Routine Settings
Philips Hue Routine Settings

The Routines tab of your Philips Hue app already contains “wake up” and “go to sleep” routines, waiting for our configuration. For both routines, we can specify the time, the weekday as well as the rooms. Additionally, we can define the fade-in time for waking up (up to 30 minutes) and the fade-out time for going to sleep (up to 60 minutes).

Please note, that the “go to sleep” routine starts with a brightness of 56% and make sure that the scene which you are fading out is not brighter. Otherwise, you will see your lights brighten up, just before fading out, which is counterproductive for preparing to go to bed.

Philips Hue – HueLabs

Philips HueLabs Go to Sleep formula
Philips HueLabs Go to Sleep formula

Taking these features a bit further, we can find the “Prepare me to go to sleep” and the “Personal wake up” formulas in our Philips HueLabs.

The first one offers activating nightlight at the press of a button (dimmer or tap) and additional configuration whether the lights should fade into off state or stay at the nightlight recipe.

The latter allows us to specify whether we prefer to wake up with a relaxed light setting or an energized power wake up.

Other Apps

iConnectHue “Nightlight” Timer Settings

With iConnectHue, you are a bit more flexible when scheduling wake-up and go to sleep routines. We can additionally:

  • specify the groups (rather than rooms) we want to dim/fade in
  • configure conditions on who is present
  • set longer fade out times (120 minutes) and
  • use animations in timers.


Smart Lighting can support us to sleep better by preparing us for good night sleep and waking up with the right light setting.

For more ideas around smart lighting, see:

If you are interested in some background on sleep, see the following TED talks:
Russel Foster: “Why do we sleep” and
Jeff Iliff: “One more reason to get a good nights sleep“.

Have a good nights rest and if you’d like to share your experience with smart sleeping and wakeup routines, please leave your comment below.

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