NASA lightbulbs come down to Earth and into your house

Lighting Science makes its space station lightbulbs available to everyday folks who need help falling asleep and waking up.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Lighting Science bulbs
These LED bulbs were originally created for astronaut comfort. Amanda Kooser/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Life up on the International Space Station presents a few more challenges than most of us deal with down here on Earth. Aside from reconstituted spinach, astronauts have to deal with disrupted sleep cycles due to the station orbiting around the Earth every 90 minutes.

Lighting Science created special lightbulbs for the ISS. There are daylight bulbs with bluer light to encourage energy and activity during what would be daytime hours, and then there are lightbulbs that dial back on the blue to boost astronauts' production of melatonin for a good night's sleep. Those special bulbs are now available for terrestrial use.

The company says the LED bulbs can help regulate sleep patterns. The Good Night bulb is geared for getting in the mood to sleep, while the Awake & Alert bulb is blue-enriched to pump you up. Each bulb costs $70 and is rated to last up to 20 years. Looking at the bulbs glowing away in regular house lamps, I can really see the difference in the quality of light from each one.

For people who want to get a little more involved with the space-inspired lighting solutions, Lighting Science is introducing the Rhythm Downlight at CES, a Bluetooth-controlled light that can adjust to a user by monitoring that person via an app. It will adjust the amount of blue light based on an individual's sleep and wake cycle, emitting more or less blue light when necessary.

The sort of mileage you get out of a product like this can vary considerably. If you're up late staring at your tablet screen until the wee hours, a special night bulb might not do much for you. But an adjustment to your habits combined with a high-tech lightbulb just might help you sleep like an astronaut.

Lighting Science bulbs
Snooze and wake like you're living on a space station. Amanda Kooser/CNET