Yikes! A sleep psychologist reveals the Christmas lights to avoid if you want some shut-eye

Everyone, we present the best and worst Christmas lights for sleep

multicolored christmas lights strung out on the floor
(Image credit: Getty Images/Mariya Zakharova)

All is merry and bright, but the worst Christmas lights for sleep might make you reconsider the route to take with your holiday decor. 

According to a sleep psychologist, there are a few festive displays that can negatively impact our shut-eye and mess with our melatonin levels. Given that this time of year is particularly busy, we're not ones to disrupt those precious eight hours — a peaceful R.E.M. cycle is non-negotiable. 

If you're curious about the Christmas decor picks that make a restful night more difficult, our expert will break down everything you need to know so that you can avoid any issues and drift off to sleep peacefully.

What are the worst Christmas lights for sleep?

We hate to sound like the Grinch, but even if your bed is equipped with the best pillows and you've found the perfect setting on your white noise machine, there is a possibility that twinkle lights can disrupt all that hard work, per Dr. Katherine Hall, the resident sleep psychologist at Happy Beds. She worked on a study to analyze her findings and reported some rather concerning news. 

"The dazzling lights we all love during the festive season send the wrong signal to your brain, disrupting melatonin production and hindering your sleep-wake cycle," she said. 

And the award for the most disruptive lights goes to:

  • Blue Lights: suppress melatonin and interference with your circadian rhythm
  • Multi-colored lights: disrupt melatonin regulation
  • Flashing lights: heighten visual stimulation
Dr. Katherine Hall

Dr. Katherine Hall is the resident sleep psychologist at Happy Beds via Somnus Therapy who specializes in insomnia. Her expertise has been featured in WebMD, Healthline, and Women's Health, among other outlets. 

What to do instead

So, should we add these three culprits to the list of what not to do before decorating a small space for Christmas? Does this mean we ban lights entirely? No need to fret, there are ways to work around a suppressed melatonin dose.  

"Many studies show that red light enhances sleep quality, facilitating a quicker and more restful sleep," Dr. Hall further stated in her research. "Warm white lights emit a softer, less stimulating glow than bright white or blue, contributing to a restful night's sleep."

But should you have your heart set on a blue Christmas, or if the multicolored route plays in perfectly with your holiday feng shui, there's a solution: cut the decor up to two hours before you hit the hay. See? Not so bad, right? And the good thing is, neutral Christmas decor and minimalist Christmas decor is very in right now — and a very sophisticated way to go, according to interior designers.

We get it — parting ways with Christmas lights is not necessarily on the itinerary. But if you follow Dr. Hall's lead, you should be in decent shape. Should any other light-related issues arise, we spoke to the experts about how to fix Christmas lights in five easy steps, Christmas light safety, and how to store Christmas lights properly when the season wraps up.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.