Adventures in bathroom lighting

It’s odd how different people adjust to darkness.  I’ve found that I can manage pretty well in complete darkness for some things, such as finding a water bottle by the bed, and near-darkness for others, such as being able to shower by the light of a little red bike light.  I have another bike light in the toilet for nights, but I rarely even bother to turn it on any more.  Russell Johnston of Photoperiodeffect.com, who is an advocate of more extreme darkness therapy, has taught himself to do tasks from washing up to showering in complete darkness, and comments that if blind people can manage it, then so can we.

This is fair up to a point, but I don’t feel that complete or near darkness is really all that good an idea in some area.  My shower is over a bath and I need help getting out of it, which means that while I may be perfectly happy ambling about in low light levels, having already partially accustomed myself  by wearing the orange glasses for the earlier part of the evening, the person helping me climb out of the shower may not be so happy with suddenly being plunged into almost complete darkness. We managed to keep going for a surprising length of time, and then one evening my partner accidentally stood too close to the bath while giving me a hand out of the shower, I banged my leg on the side of the bath, and we realised that it was time to work something else out.

The simplest solution, of course, would have been to shower earlier in the day.  Unfortunately, while I’ve worked wonders with my sleep patterns, at heart I am still a night owl whose energy is greatest in the evenings.  The ME/CFIDS means that energy is not something I have enough of at any time, and showering is exhausting.  I’ll be curious to see if my energy patterns change significantly in the long term with the use of darkness therapy, because I do get sleepier earlier now, but at present there are also a few other factors which mean that evenings remain the most convenient time for me to bathe.

The difficulty, of course, is that I have a wide selection of colour light bulbs by now, and a snazzy pair of orange glasses, but I can’t wear the glasses in the shower and I can’t plug in a lamp in the bathroom due to the water-electricity hazard (and the resulting absence of sockets).  I spent several days going through every possibility I could.  First of all I looked at battery-operated LED lighting in yellow or orange, thinking I might sit a light source on the laundry basket.  I looked into fairy lights, LED tea lights, even a solar-powered lamp (though round here I’d need to recharge the batteries in a battery recharger).  LEDs in the orange-yellow spectrum tend to be a vile street-lamp orange, but I was getting desperate.  I even ordered a set of six tea lights which I was promised were a pleasant yellow-amber and as bright as ordinary candles.  Neither of these assertions proved to be correct, and they weren’t bright enough to light up a fuse box, let alone a bathroom.

After that I turned my thoughts to real lamps.  We shower with the bathroom door ajar anyway to minimise condensation, so I even tried putting a clip-on lamp on the bathroom door, running two extension cables through the hall to a kitchen socket.  But I wasn’t sure that this was entirely safe, I didn’t like having to move the lamp on every time I wanted a shower, the clip wasn’t wide enough for the door and would only fit on the handle, and the trailing cables looked ghastly.

Eventually I found a good solution.  I swapped over the shoe rack in the hall, which is in the line of sight when the bathroom door is ajar and which conveniently has a socket on the wall behind it, with one of the hall half-height bookcases.  I’ve put an ordinary lamp and a clip-on lamp on the bookcase, which both take 60W yellow bulbs, and pointed them in the direction of the bathroom.  I have to shower with the door a little more open now, which does get a bit chilly although it’s probably better in terms of condensation, and there’s a fair amount of warm golden light shining through.  It’s not perfect, but it’s more than enough light to shower by and for someone to help me get out of the shower, and the positioning means that there aren’t any trailing cables, lamps sticking out where we could bump into them, or things requiring to be moved when I need a shower.  Next time I’m doing up a bathroom, however, I think I’ll put in a bathroom wall light or two with yellow bulbs.

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4 Comments on “Adventures in bathroom lighting”


  1. Battery-operated red bike-light. Now why haven’t I thought of that? Was going to try real candles, but haven’t got ’round to it. I do have a socket in the bathroom, but it only works when all the lights are on 😦

    Nice to meet you, too!


    • Bathrooms really are awkward if you like to bathe in the evening, aren’t they. As far as I can tell, the only options are to spend lots of money having an extra light fitting put in, leave the door open and shine in light from the hall, or use a portable form of coloured light which is safe around water. Option A would be ideal for me, and next time I’m moving flat I think I’ll go for it, but right now Option B seems to be my best bet, since I honestly can’t find anything that good with Option C.

      Bike lights don’t give off a huge amount of light, though that depends on how little light you can function by. Candles are definitely brighter but more hassle and of course riskier, especially in a small bathroom. I’m vaguely curious about that Sun Jar thing, it sounds like it might be a marginal improvement over the bike light, at least as long as you have a battery recharger, since so many reviews say that the solar panel is lousy.

      I’m still getting the hang of WordPress and was attempting to put a quotation into that comment on your post about explaining to the lucky good sleepers, by the way. The bit I was trying to quote was,

      “In my experience, it has simply never occurred to most people that they wake up or go to sleep for any reason other than being tired or not being tired; i.e. they believe it is mostly a conscious choice.”

      It really is odd how strong the taboo is against sleep disorders, and that helped explain the “you sleep late because of a lack of moral fibre” attitude that is so surprisingly common. I have quite seriously encountered a poor chap in another sleep forum whose parents think his circadian rhythm disorder is due to being possessed by demons, and have tried exorcism. The parents sound like religious nutters, but it’s still an interesting reaction.


  2. First of all, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who at times needs to wait all day to work up the energy to take a shower. Not that I would wish the problem on anyone else; I’d rather no one had to cope with it.

    I’m lucky with regard to my bathroom in that it has an electric socket which is independent of the lights. Thus I was able to put a pair of clip-on lamps in there with amber LEDs. They are fairly strong LEDs (actually many little LEDs in one unit) but the color is at least amber.

    This is the clip on lamp:

    http://www.lampsplus.com/Products/Pro-Track-White-Mini-Accent-Clip-Light__63398.html

    Amber or red LEDs similar to these:

    http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&Page2Disp=%2Fspecs%2FE27-W24.htm


  3. Is it a pleasant amber? I’ve tried to find something good in an amber LED bulb or battery-operated light, and they’ve all been this really nasty orange and persists even if viewed through amber specs or a coloured tealight holder. Also the one LED bulb of that sort which I’ve tried was ridiculously dim, though that was a few years ago. Do you happen to know what the wattage is?


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