Description: The incandescent light bulb, which was invented by Thomas Edison, has become the standard in most households. The term incandescent describes the kind of light source that gives off light as a result of being heated. Standard incandescent light bulbs only convert approximately 10% of the energy consumed into light, while 90% of the consumed energy is given off as heat.

Fluorescent light bulbs have been incorporated into institutionalized lighting systems of schools, factories, and stores because of their improved energy efficiency. However, recent studies indicate that such lighting does not support optimum health and productivity.

Natural lighting sources have significant beneficial effects on the human body and psyche. For instance, full spectrum bright light is commonly used as a therapy in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). People frequently experience SAD in the northern hemisphere during winter months when there is little sunlight.

What to look for: Look for full spectrum light bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs contain the full color spectrum of the rainbow including the colors visible and invisible to the human eye. Such light is roughly equivalent to standing outdoors on a spring day. Full spectrum lighting also contains some amount of infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths in quantities that are safe and essential for good health. The amount of ultraviolet light is miniscule and will not affect human skin to the point of burn or tan.

Uses: Full spectrum lighting is most often utilized for the sake of improved mood. People find increased energy, enhanced mental awareness, and increased productivity when working in the context of natural light. Similarly, the visible color scale of full spectrum light lends itself to visual clarity and decreased eye strain and fatigue. The spectrum of natural light is also believed by many to positively affect the human immune system and lead to better sleep.

Where to find: Full spectrum lighting is nearly as common these days as incandescent bulbs. Grocery stores, hardware stores and stores that sell household appliances often carry full spectrum lights. Also check online resources for deals on buying bulbs in bulk.

Avoid: Avoid fluorescent lighting because it can have a tiring effect on the body and can weaken a person’s immune system. Get rid of fluorescent lighting and replace it with full spectrum lighting wherever possible.