Before electricity, interiors were illuminated by flame, with candles and gas lamps that cast a natural glow. These days, however, high-impact, low-energy bulbs that use blue wavelengths to brighten light — such as LEDs and compact fluorescents — are standard in homes across the globe.
While blue light may assist in matters of alertness and productivity, overexposure can strain retinas and knock the body’s circadian rhythm out of sync. Bulbs that stray from the conventional soft white 60-watt LED, then, have the power to improve overall well-being, joining energy efficiency with the warm glow of a candle.
LIFX A19 LED Light
Best Smart Bulb: The LIFX smart bulb boasts fully customizable full-spectrum color — 16 million hues in total — with a color temperature that spans a soft, yellowed hue at 2,500 kelvins to a vibrant, bluish white at 9,000 kelvins. Going one step beyond customized “sleep” and “wake” times, an app-enabled Solar Schedule setting uses location-based data to sync the light with the rising and setting sun, gradually glowing brighter to facilitate smoother mornings, and later dimming to conduce a better night’s sleep.
Lighting Science HealthE Good Night LED Sleep-Enhancing Light
Best Blue Light-Blocking Bulb: The Lighting Science HealthE Good Night bulb was developed in collaboration with NASA to support the circadian rhythms of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. With patented light spectrum technology that filters out 95 percent of blue light, the bulb relies on a warm, pink-yellow glow to foster the natural production of melatonin.
Luminance ST19 Filament LED Bulb
Best Filament Bulb: Guided by aesthetics rather than science, a filament bulb encourages relaxation in much the same way that a purpose-built bulb can. Illuminating with 250 lumens, compared to the 800 of a standard 60-watt LED, the Luminance ST19 Filament LED is distinguished by a warm, amber-tinged glow. It clocks in at 2,200 kelvins, and is perhaps best placed in an exposed light fixture, whether that’s a pendant, flush mount or simple shade-free lamp.
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