Putting your baby to sleep - with light?

Sleepy Baby bulbLightingScience

September 15, 2015

Normally, when you're putting a baby to bed, light is the last thing you want—and yet a bit of light can help reassure young ones, as well as help parents to avoid stubbed toes. A new lightbulb promises to help solve that conundrum.

Sleepy Baby, a lightbulb from the company LightingScience, emits enough light to let babies (and parents) see their surroundings, but because the bulb omits the parts of the light spectrum that the brain associates with daylight, it doesn't trick young eyes into thinking it's still playtime.

"It's a lifesaver, especially when you're a working mom," one parent told the New York Times—which reports that the new bulb is part of a growing wave of lifestyle lighting.

"Lighting is really not about a fixture in the ceiling anymore," a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researcher told the Times. "It's about delivering individualized light treatments to people."

The fact that different parts of the spectrum send different cues to the brain—meaning that artificial lighting can interfere with the natural sleep cycle—has long been understood, notes the Times. What's changed is that LED technology is making more sophisticated, making situation-specific lighting more affordable for the average consumer. The Sleepy Baby bulb, for example, sells for $29.95.

Some of the new lighting technologies even promise aphrodisiac effects—all the more reason those Sleepy Baby bulbs might come in handy.