A 27-year-old hailed by Amazon as one of the best small business owners under 30 shares how he used his engineering background to tackle every entrepreneur's biggest enemy: lack of sleep

A 27-year-old hailed by Amazon as one of the best small business owners under 30 shares how he used his engineering background to tackle every entrepreneur's biggest enemy: lack of sleep

Bedtime Bulb Table Lamp

Courtesy Bedtime Bulb

The Bedtime Bulb is one of Amazon's top product picks, and its inventor is a finalist for Amazon's new award for small businesses.

  • Greg Yeutter is the inventor and owner of Bedtime Bulb, an Amazon's Choice product and finalist for Amazon's first-ever Small Business Owner Under 30 award.
  • Yeutter says his first word as a baby was "light," and he later studied the effects of light on human health as an electrical engineering student with Drexel University's dLUX Lab.
  • Business Insider spoke with Yeutter to hear how he was able to launch his product on Amazon and become an award finalist in a single year.
  • Yeutter shared the strategies and resources that he uses to grow his business, starting with the reason his company exists: entrepreneurs - and anyone else - should make sure they're getting enough sleep.
  • Visit BI Prime for more stories.

As a baby, Greg Yeutter's first word was "light."

As a toddler, he was fascinated with light switches and ceiling fixtures, even when other kids around him were listening with rapt attention to story time.

As a college student, Yeutter studied the effects of light on human health with Drexel University's dLUX Lab, which investigates how light affects life in the modern world.

Last week, he became a finalist for the Amazon's first-ever award for Small Business Owner Under 30 for his Bedtime Bulb. His invention, which now sells thousands of bulbs each month, is a specially designed light that shines with more of the colors that scientists say help you sleep, and less of the colors that keep you awake.


Now, at age 27, the entrepreneur and inventor wants you to close your eyes. But first, he shared lessons with Business Insider in how studying the fundamentals of a problem allows you to create a product that serves as a better solution.

Recognize: Bad sleep is an 'epidemic' - and a business opportunity

"Poor quality sleep is basically an epidemic in the US," Yeutter said in an interview with Business Insider, citing National Sleep Foundation findings that less than half of Americans report feeling "well-rested" on weekday mornings.

The nation's problem with fatigue is the light wave-obsessed Yeutter's business opportunity. Americans are projected to spend more than $52 billion on sleep-aid devices and substances next year, according to analysis from BCC Research and Consumer Reports.

And that number doesn't fully capture the alcohol and other drugs people consume when trying to catch a few winks.

"We want to solve sleep issues with technology, not drugs," Yeutter said. "That's our mission."


His technology? A better lightbulb.

Greg with Bedtime Bulb Prototype

Courtesy Bedtime Bulb

Bedtime Bulb inventor and entrepreneur Greg Yeutter

Research: Understand the problem before designing the solution

Yeutter's attributes the success of his Bedtime Bulb to the methodical approach he learned from working in a research lab. Rather than develop a technology and attempt to bend it into a market, Yeutter first set out to fully understand a fundamental human problem.

"We have thousands of data points about how humans use light," he said, adding that those insights are at the very core of his products design.

Through his study with the dLUX lab, Yeutter saw first-hand how humans respond wakefully to the presence of blue and green wavelengths in light, even when the overall appearance is mostly on yellow and red end of the color spectrum.


Every light source has a native hue, or color temperature, such as the neutral light of the midday sun, the warm orange of a candle, or the cold blue of the screen you're likely looking at now.

Artificial lights must often be corrected to achieve the desired result, such as LEDs, which typically start with a blue hue and are filtered to match daylight or incandescent bulbs. According to Yeutter's spec sheet, typical indoor bulbs like incandescent, halogen, or filtered LED's still emit two-to-three times the amounts of sleep-disrupting blue and green wavelengths than his Bedtime Bulb does.

Those insights enable Yeutter to differentiate his product from a growing field of LED bulbs, including market leaders like Philips Hue or C from GE, by more fully addressing his customers' needs. The Bedtime Bulb has several trademarked technologies to reduce blue light and widen the preferred spectrum for better color and clarity.

Market: Build a strong reputation from the start

Although you can buy a Bedtime Bulb directly from the company, it's much easier to get via Amazon. And that's as intentional as Yeutter's approach to R&D.

"We wanted to maximize our reputation on Amazon," Yeutter said about his decision to launch his product last year on the platform. "Customer reviews on Amazon were pivotal."


Yeutter says he benefitted from the trust that customers have in Amazon, which made them more willing to try out his new product over more established brands due to Amazon's robust payment security and return policies.

Operationalize: Focus on the right team and tools for your business

Although Bedtime Bulb is a company of one, Yeutter regularly works with a team of about 10 contractors and a manufacturer in China.

Choosing building his team took significant time and attention, especially to find a factory that could produce according to his business' exacting specifications.

The escalating trade war with China still hasn't deterred him from sticking with his supplier, even as his tariff costs have increased.

In addition, Yeutter uses Amazon's fulfillment services, which he says are are worth the high price because of the time it saves him.


And remember: Make sure you get quality sleep

An avid reader (and re-reader) of Tim Ferris' The 4-hour Workweek, Yeutter says he tries always to "work on the business, not in the business." That means keeping a strategic eye on the big picture over the daily distractions.

A major part of that is getting enough sleep.

"Success is not about sacrificing sleep for work," Yeutter said. "Diet and sleep are more important than exercise to your mental health, especially for entrepreneurs where your thought process is so much of the business."

To improve sleep quality, he recommends using color-shifting apps on your phone or laptop and dimming their brightness to the lowest comfortable level, and adjusting the color and intensity of your rooms light sources.

And if you want your lighting to be backed up by scientific research, he'd be happy to sell you some bulbs.


Exclusive FREE Slide Deck: 40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019 by Business Insider Intelligence