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Any truth to candles being better than standard lightbulbs?

by (20)
Updated 9 minutes ago
Created January 16, 2012 at 4:57 AM

Are candles superior to standard lightbulbs and television/computer screens at night time in regards to circadian rhythm?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052
2949 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

thirded on f.lux

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901
681 · May 23, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Blue light suppresses metatonin. White light contains blue light.

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18
1689 · January 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Even small amounts of blue spectrum light block melatonin production, but red light does not. http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/90/3/1311 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2744917 http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/90/5/2755 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20030543 http://jp.physoc.org/content/526/3/695.full However, I had thought that fire was mostly red-spectrum light, but now i've been unable to find reliable data saying that candles do not have blue spectrum light. Can anyone chime in?

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5949 · January 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Sorry, spam is not paleo.

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1966 · January 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

You can get electronic candles now.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
6087 · January 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

(too many acronyms)

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
6087 · January 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

tma;d r

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3
7540 · January 16, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Someone's confused about the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Medium avatar
2913 · January 16, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Playing devil's advocate - you sure that's not just the result of the carbon dioxide being released as the candle burns the oxygen in the room?

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254 · January 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM

f.lux is awesome.

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12 Answers

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2889 · January 16, 2012 at 6:45 AM

You're using f.lux, right?

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254 · January 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM

f.lux is awesome.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052
2949 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

thirded on f.lux

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17103 · January 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I don't like the idea of candles. I'm not so sure that the vaporizing wax is a good thing to breathe in, and some are scented, so that would be a source of VOCs. Plus they make for an excellent fire risk. There are LED ones that simulate the flicker, and provide a nice orange glow, but I find I don't use either.

Instead, you can also replace a light in your bedroom with a dim yellow colored one. I replaced most of the lights in our house with LED lights, except one of the bedroom lamps with a CF yellow light. They're sold as "party lights" in home depot, orange might also work. I've not found LED versions of those, though I'm sure they could be masked with a yellow gel, as long as they don't heat up to the point of melting the plastic on the gel.

I find that I can't read more than half an hour with that light, though the text is very visible, since it makes me sleepy immediately, no matter how compelling the book I read VS having nights where I've stayed up until I finished the entire book in one go. :)

F.Lux on the computer helps, also I use a Nook color that I've replaced the OS on with Phiremod and use the Aldiko ebook app on there, which has day and night modes, so you can change the foreground and background colors and can adjust the brightness by dragging your finger on the left hand edge. I've set the night one to a yellowish background with black text.

Heavy black out curtains help as well, but when the neighbors turn on their back yard flood lights, some light got through the separation between the wall and the curtain. So, I used large sized binder clips to ensure no gaps between the wall and the curtain, by clipping the curtain to the metal body of the blind under the curtain.

I've also taken to covering the front of the alarm clocks in the room, and using black electrical tape on the LEDs of the set top box and other indicator lights in the bedroom where needed.

Before switching to a FiOS multi room DVR, I had a TiVo in the bedroom as well as one in the living room and the hard drive in it woke me as it did it's nightly cleanup/compression. The new STB is quiet as it has no moving parts.

I also have a small HEPA filter in the room, not so much for cleaning the air of dust, though that was the original purpose, but to provide enough white noise to mask things like passing airplanes and other noise, like cats in heat in the summer.

These all make for a huge difference in sleep quality, and are far nicer than candles, IMHO.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
6087 · January 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

(too many acronyms)

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
6087 · January 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

tma;d r

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9
1966 · January 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

You can get electronic candles now.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901
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681 · May 23, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Instead of replacing all your light sources, you could just get blue-blocking glasses. You wear them for a couple of hours before bed. I use mine every evening. They make you look like a dork, but they work well.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000USRG90

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003OBZ64M

http://www.lowbluelights.com/

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10 · January 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Interesting question; I've never really thought about this before! Many people do recommend burning beeswax candles for an hour or so before going to bed. They would have to be 100% beeswax,though, as other candles are not good for your health (or the environment's health). Up front: I'm a beeswax chandler & have a couple of blog posts that discuss candle waxes, fragrance and the air-cleaning ability of beeswax candles.

Links: http://smallbones.ca/blog/the-lowdown-on-fragrances-flavours/ http://smallbones.ca/blog/the-lowdown-on-candle-waxes/ http://smallbones.ca/blog/finally-evidence-that-beeswax-emits-the-most-negative-ions/

The study referenced on the third post is not on-line, but the info was sent to me by the fellow who taught me how to make beeswax candles properly & is the founder of the Canadian Beeswax Chandlers Guild, so I trust him.

I moved from the city to a tiny rural hamlet in 1998 ??? no noise, a couple of street lights, cleaner air ??? I've never slept better!

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5188 · January 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

I think I bigger effect comes from limiting your activities to things that don't use a screen, although it is nice to be able to read by firelight. It can depend when you go to bed though, it makes much more sense to then 'be productive' and turn on all the lights early in the morning rather than stay up late by candlelight. And of course when outdoors and sat round the fire it certainly comes more naturally.

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12540 · January 16, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I'm fortunate to have a ready source of handmade beeswax candles (from the same farmer who runs the apiary where I get my local raw honey), so I tend to use candles for the 2 hrs right before bed -- a candlelit bath, and a book -- and it's made a big difference for me. On the nights when I stay up and watch TV, even if there are no lights lit in the front room aside from the TV, it takes me at least twice as long to fall asleep once the lights are out.

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5381 · August 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I would say: Yes.

Amber light has less blue light. Candles are more amber than white. And lower strength of light also helps the circadian rythmn alot.

Although you can approximate this with low wattage amber blubs, as described above.

I am planning on using a combination of low wattage yellow bulbs and electronic candles. I like the relaxing feeling of candles (if you use electronic candles, make sure they have a realistic flicker. Some of the cheap ones strobe annoyingly).

I already use f.lux, but ive found I have ad to manually lower the blue and brightness on my system a little more to make it effective in the evening (otherwise is still alot brighter than a lamp or candle, and still has some blue)

I am also wanting to get some sunglasses with a light blue lense, because id like to occassionally wear sunglasses without blocking my circadian rythmn. I am probably getting carried away, but hey, its fun.

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15 · January 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Be careful of LED lights as they suppress melatonin production. I've found that that white Christmas lights (non-LED) work really well for reading at bedtime. They give off a nice soft light.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901
681 · May 23, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Blue light suppresses metatonin. White light contains blue light.

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240 · January 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Catholic Candle Cancer?

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20353 · January 16, 2012 at 5:26 AM

Avoid TV and computers right before bed if you can. It does help. I would keep the lights though and read a book or kindle (e-ink display).

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1363 · January 16, 2012 at 5:12 AM

I think they allow melatonin excretion much better, but it's tough to do anything by candle. Trade off health for productivity...

I use some 100% beeswax candles sometimes and I do get more sleepy much faster with those.

Medium avatar
2913 · January 16, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Playing devil's advocate - you sure that's not just the result of the carbon dioxide being released as the candle burns the oxygen in the room?

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3
7540 · January 16, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Someone's confused about the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

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78422 · January 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Hands down, the best multi-room DVR is DISH Networks Hopper. This device is amazing. It gives me the ability to record up to six shows at once and record up to 250 hours of HD programs! I can also use full DVR functionality in all four rooms. Let???s say I misplace my remote (this happens a lot) the hopper actually has a remote finder button! It???s too bad other providers to do not offer this. I was told by a co-worker at DISH that DISH installed a couple of new features; to name a few, we have the TruVolume and PrimeTime Anytime. TruVolume prevents customers from annoying fluctuations in volume so that you have complete volume control. PrimeTime Anytime is a setting that you can activate on the receiver to automatically records the big four networks everyday! It stores them for eight days on the 2TB hard drive, so you'll never miss shows on networks like CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX during prime time. I???m so ready to get his new DVR!

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d
5949 · January 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Sorry, spam is not paleo.

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