Smart lighting is a cool home feature. Few devices wow a guest like changing the color of your living room lights with your voice. Plus, there's the added benefit of never reaching for a light switch once you're already cozy in bed.
Aside from the obvious conveniences of smart lighting, there are some lesser-known ways to use smart lights to your advantage. With the right settings, they can do everything from providing you with better sleep to stronger home security. Here's how.
1. Reduce your energy bill with smart lights and motion sensors
Smart lights are LEDs, which already use less power than traditional lights. In fact, some are certified to use as much as 90% less energy overall. When you tack on the added lifespan of an LED (around 15 years on average), you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Take these savings even farther by pairing a smart light with a motion sensor. Program your smart light to turn off after five minutes when no motion is detected, and you will never have to worry about a light being left on again.
2. Sleep better by dimming the lights before bed
Bright lights tell the body that it needs to wake up, and the modern age of monitors and smartphones can affect the body's natural Circadian rhythms. If you have insomnia or struggle to fall asleep, smart lights can help.
Set the lights to a warm, soft glow about an hour before bedtime. Half an hour before bed, set them to dim gradually. This mimics a natural sunset and signals the body to produce melatonin, the natural hormone that encourages easier, deeper sleep.
3. Make it look like someone is home
Studies have shown that an empty home is often a thief's first target. Burglars look for signs that no one is home, like a dark house and no cars in the driveway. You can program your smart lights to turn on and off at random and mimic the pattern of someone walking from room to room. To an outsider looking in, your home will look occupied. Combine this with motion-activated outdoor lights, and you have a good anti-burglar setup without having an actual home security system.
4. Improve the big-game experience
One of the least-used features of smart lights is the ability to sync them with other forms of media. For example, if you have guests over to watch a big sporting event, you can set your smart lights to flash in your team's colors every time they score a goal.
Smart lights can also be set to pulse in time with music, turning your home into an impromptu dance floor. You can even program your smart lights to reflect the ambient colors of the TV for a more immersive viewing experience.
5. Beat the weather
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression that sets in when the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter. One of the best remedies is bright, natural light — something smart lights are great at imitating. If you feel a little blue during the long days of fall and winter, set your lights to a bright, warm glow to help improve your mood.
You can also use the lights to signal the temperature. In regions where the weather doesn't change much, a smart light can provide helpful insights before you head out the door. For example, the foyer light could be light blue if it's sweater-weather or a warm yellow if short sleeves are all you need.
Smart lighting can do so much more than light your home. Combined with other features, it can be a useful and efficient addition to your smart home system.