The humble night light has been with us for over a hundred years – supplying homes of all types with comfort, security and a good night’s sleep. Here’s how a night light can brighten your home… in more ways than one!
What Are Night Lights?
Night lights (or “Night Lamps”) are small electrical lights which are placed in a room to provide soft, low-level lighting. They are most commonly used to aid sleep in both adults and children by emitting a comforting, non-disruptive light in the bedroom. However, they can also be used throughout the house to aid night time navigation and increase security.
In addition to their practical uses, modern night lights have developed into fun, decorative household items. From creative novelty night lights, to designs that celebrate the best of religion and heritage – it’s not just “light” that a night light adds to a home.
Our Guide to Night Lights
Here at noveltynightlights.ie it’s safe to say that we’re huge advocates of the benefits of night lights for both adults and children. We’ve put together this buying guide to help you understand the advantages of night lights, the types of night light available, and what features to look out for in the best night lights.
But before we delve into the benefits of using a night light, did you know that night lights have been around for hundreds of years?
A Brief History of Night Lights
Candles – The First Ancestor of the Night Light
The first night lights used in Ireland would have been long-burning candles.
It was in the mid 1850s that Scottish chemist James Young found a method to successfully distill paraffin wax from coal and oil shales. Paraffin could be used to make high quality candles that were inexpensive to manufacture – and therefore affordable for the masses.
Thanks to the efforts of Young and other pioneers like him, the Victorians were the first to enjoy having day-to-day activities such as cooking and reading lit by candlelight. This includes night lights, which could be left to burn at night (relatively!) safely.
Oil and Gas
Towards the end of the 19th century, advancements such as the production of Paraffin made different types of oil lamp more prevalent as household lights and night lights. Wealthier middle class Victorians could also choose to have their homes lit by gas.
However both methods came with significant downsides – from relatively dim outputs, to unpleasant fumes and even the odd explosion!
By 1878 the world-renowned Thomas Edison was working on a system of electrical illumination and a commercially viable electric light. However it took another 50 years for electric lights to become widely used in the UK. Even by the end of the 1930s, only two-thirds of UK households were connected to the national grid. For those who were connected, household lighting was usually limited to 1 or 2 main lights and a couple of wall lamps.
However, it wasn’t long until electric light technology became more prevalent. As it did so, up sprung a wide variety of creative light fittings and lampshades. Everything from decorative lampshades, to grand chandeliers – and even the humble night light.
What are the Advantages of Night Lights for Children?
Perhaps the most common use for night lights is to provide comfort to young children and aid their nightly sleep – but the benefits of night lights for children don’t end there.
Night Lights for Better Sleep
It’s natural for young children to be afraid of the dark, especially as their cognitive abilities and imaginations develop.
A good night light for children emits low level, comforting light which can help reassure a child as they fall asleep – but also if they wake up in the night. To aid this, many childrens’ night lights depict colourful characters or reassuring figures such as angels or fairies.
Night Time Navigation
Ideally a settled child will sleep all the way through the night. However, it’s inevitable that there will be times when a child will want to get up and leave the room – perhaps to go to their parents, or simply to use the bathroom.
In these instances, a night light can help them safely navigate their room, avoiding obstacles and large pieces of furniture. Even walking around a tidy room in the dark can result in painful stubbed toes!
Night Lights for Nursing
A nursing night light can help both mother and baby when it comes to feeding time in the early hours. The soft, low-level light provided by a night light allows a mother (or father) to safely reach the crib and feed their child. Meanwhile, because the night light helps to maintain a relaxing environment, it’s easier for a baby to drift off to sleep again once they have been fed.
A night light can also give a parent peace of mind outside of feeding time, allowing them to check on their sleeping baby or young child without turning on brighter lamps or the main lights.
What are the Advantages of Night Lights for Adults?
Combat Nyctophobia / Fear of Darkness
While common in children, fear of darkness is also something that can affect adults. In extreme cases, fear of nighttime or darkness can cause significant levels of anxiety or depression and is recognised as “Nyctophobia”.
No matter what level of discomfort darkness causes for you, a light for sleep can help alleviate those feelings and lead to a better sleep – in just the same way it would for a younger person.
Night Time Navigation
There are a number of reasons why somebody might find themselves getting up in the night. People of all ages get up in the night to go to the bathroom – and for most of us, this will only increase with age. Around 70% of adults over the age of 40 get up to go to the bathroom at least once per night.
A night light can help make this journey easier and safer by gently illuminating some or all of the rooms you might enter. While many people choose to have a night light for their bedroom, bathroom night lights and hallway night lights are also popular choices to make walking around the home in darkness safer.
Night lights can give people of all ages a feeling of security – but they also have practical security applications for your home. Around 70% of burglaries happen while the owner is away. So, while a night light alone is not a guaranteed deterrent, the presence of one illuminating a room in your house sends a clear message that somebody is home.
Night Lights Buying Guide
From fun novelty night lights, to usb-powered lights with smart features – there has never been a greater choice of night lights available! Let’s look at the different types of night light you might come across:
Power Type – Choose from Plug-in, Battery Powered and USB
A plug-in night light is the most traditional type of night light. The advantage of a plug-in night light is that the light can draw from a constant, uninterrupted power source. Plug sockets also provide a natural home for a night light; their low position on the wall ensures the light level is unobtrusive, while the light unit itself is off the floor with no table or stand required.
Thanks to advancements in battery technology, battery powered and USB rechargeable night lights have become more popular in recent years. Battery powered and USB rechargeable night lights can be easier to move around the home than the plug-in type.
However, due to their long operating hours, night lights can drain traditional batteries surprisingly quickly, while USB rechargeable lights require constant recharging.
Traditional Night Light vs Smart Night Light
A traditional night light simply plugs into the wall and may have a switch to turn the unit on and off, or to adjust brightness. Night lights with Smart Capabilities can give a user access to advanced scheduling options and even things such as voice control.
While choosing between smart and traditional is a matter of personal preference, it’s worth bearing in mind that a smart nightlight will likely need a Wifi network and smart hub (such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home) to operate. This makes a traditional night light much easier to travel with (for example when going on holiday or staying with friends and parents).
Best Night Lights – Essential Features to Look Out For
As well as considering their basic functionality, there are important features that you should look for when choosing a night light. Here are some essential features to bear in mind when choosing the best night light for your home:
Low Energy Bulbs
By their very nature, night lights have long operating hours, running throughout the night to provide comfort and security until morning. Luckily night lights are inexpensive to run – but it’s important to select an LED night light for maximum energy-efficiency. A night light with an LED bulb is cheap to run, but is still able to provide ample soft light for even larger rooms.
LED bulbs are also incredibly long lasting – which is why you’ll find them in every night light in our range.
Soft light (not blue or white)
A good night light should generate a soft, non-white light which emits warm – but not excessive – brightness. The best light colour for sleep is a warm light with a yellow or red hue. This is because our eyes are less sensitive to the longer wavelengths found in yellow and red light.
Blue light and white light (which contains blue light) should be avoided. This is because blue light suppresses the natural release of melatonin – a hormone that makes us feel drowsy – in our bodies. In the same way you should avoid looking at your phone or laptop screen immediately before going to sleep, you should avoid night lights that emit blue or white light.
Original Attractive Designs
Whether you’re buying a night light for a child or an adult, it’s likely to become a permanent fixture in your bedroom, bathroom or hallway for years to come – so it’s important to choose an attractive design that compliments your home!
Night Lights for Children
For a child, the primary purpose of a night light is to provide comfort and a feeling of security. This is why night lights for children often feature friendly, re-assuring characters and designs. Popular choices include angels and fairies, or fun animals and cartoons which appeal to children of all ages.
Night Lights for Adults
For adults, the number of night light designs available is truly limitless. Our own range of night lights includes quirky novelty lights, elegant floral designs, and collections which celebrate the best of religion and Ireland itself.
Night Light FAQs
To finish up, we’ve rounded up some quick questions that we at noveltynightlights.ie regularly get asked about night lights and night lamps.
Will a night light help my child sleep?
A night light is not a cast-iron guarantee that your baby, toddler or child will sleep better. However, night lights have been used for decades to provide children with comfort and security in the night time – they represent a safe, inexpensive way to provide them with reassurance.
What type of night light is best for sleeping?
Warm light with a yellow or red hue is the best light for sleep because our eyes are less sensitive to their longer wavelengths. Blue and white lights should be avoided as they suppress the “Melatonin” hormone that causes drowsiness.
Is it safe to leave a night light on all night?
Yes – night lights are designed specifically to be left on throughout the night.
How long will a night light last?
A good quality night light with an energy efficient LED bulb should last between 7 and 10 years. After this period, you can simply replace the bulb to enjoy further years of use.