NASA to test whether color-changing LEDs improve sleep on the ISS

Dec. 28, 2012
Washington, DC--According to LIGHTimes Online, NASA reportedly plans to test LED lighting on the International Space Station to help astronauts sleep.

Washington, DC--According to LIGHTimes Online, NASA reportedly plans to test light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on the International Space Station (ISS) to help astronauts sleep. Space travel inevitably disrupts the body's circadian rhythms. NASA hopes that gradual LED light changes that mimic sunrise, daylight, and sunset lighting conditions will improve the quality and increase the time of astronaut's sleep.

Sleep has has been a concern in the space program for decades. In fact, NASA says that nearly half of all medication taken while in space was used to improve sleep. NASA plans on simulating Earth's daylight cycle with the gradual shift from bluish light in the morning to white light, and then to red light in the evening.

In order to stimulate a normal circadian bluish lighting is meant to stimulate the retinal photopigment melanopsin and the hormone melatonin, which helps a person feel more awake and alert. Then the lighting will shift to daylight-like white light. A shift to red lighting is expected to reverse the process. Astronauts will have to wait to test LED lighting. Testing of this LED lighting-based circadian simulation on the ISS is not scheduled to start until 2016.

SOURCE: LIGHTimes Online; www.solidstatelighting.net/news/?date=2012-12-18&id=122379

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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