Spending too much time indoors under dull lighting can affect your mood, energy level and productivity. Studies have shown that people who spend more time in the sun live happier, healthier lives. Many companies and homeowners alike have been switching their light bulbs to those that mimic natural sunlight to help improve their overall well-being. There are a few options to explore when shopping for light bulbs that mimic sunlight.
Full-Spectrum Light Bulbs
Much like natural sunlight, full-spectrum light bulbs produce a light that is seen by the human eye as having a bluish-white tint. Full-spectrum light bulbs have been said to improve mood, energy and learning ability. A light source's color depends on the color temperature that the light source produces. Full-spectrum light bulbs are classified as those that produce color temperatures upward of 5,000 Kelvin, much like that of natural sunlight. The downside of full-spectrum bulbs is that, like the sun, they produce UV rays, which can be harmful. Many light boxes use screens that block most UV rays, but be sure to check before prolonged exposure.
The flash produced by a bulb in a camera is meant to mimic the natural light produced by the sun. These bulbs produce a bright white light as opposed to the yellow lighting found in many indoor sources. Many electronic flash bulbs produce a color temperature of between 5,400 and 6,000 Kelvin to mimic a sunny day.
Daylight or Sunlight Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs
CFL bulbs emit light from a mix of colored bands inside the bulb. A daylight or sunlight bulb emits more white and blue lights to mimic natural sunlight. CFL bulbs are marketed to be more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs. When shopping for daylight CFL bulbs, check the color temperature or number of Kelvin produced by the bulb. Some brands market their CFL bulbs as daylight bulbs when they measure only 3,500 Kelvin while natural sunlight produces more than 5,000 Kelvin.
Broad-Spectrum Light Bulbs
These light bulbs are as close to full spectrum lighting as you can get without the production of harmful UV rays. Broad spectrum bulbs generally produce a color temperature of around 4,200, close to that of natural sunlight. These bulbs are usually described as being pure white light. The color temperature reads just short of natural sunlight, not producing quite as much blue light as the sun but still producing many of the same effects.