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Natural Light vs Artificial Light
Especially in the cold seasons, people are often mentally worse and feel sick. However, this is not due to the temperatures, but rather to the depressing darkness. It gets late bright, early dark and the sun barely shows up. One of the requirements of work is to be active and efficient even when daylight alone is no longer sufficient. Then artificial lighting must ensure that adequate lighting conditions prevail during working hours. But what exactly are the differences? And what options do you have?
Natural light is full spectrum and dynamic. Full spectrum means that the light contains all the colors of the rainbow. Dynamic means that the light intensity and color temperature changes with the time of day. The sun emits radiation over the full range of wavelengths, but the earth’s atmosphere blocks a lot of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiations.
The light not only affects our day-night rhythm, but also our vitamin D balance. It is crucial because it helps us to absorb the calcium from the food. In turn, we need the calcium for bone formation and stability.
Additionally daylight inhibits the production of melatonin, which ensures that we get tired when it gets dark. Cortisol does the opposite and makes us alert and focused. For people who do not get enough daylight while working, both substances are present in the body at the wrong time. The consequences are:
- Sleep disorders
- Even depression
Artificial light is visible light generated by artificial light sources and usually also contains some IR and UV radiation, as opposed to natural daylight (most LEDs do not contain IR and UV).
Visible and IR radiations from artificial lights don't have have any effects on health, if they are not extremely intense and used at very close range. Short-term UV effects from artificial lighting on healthy people are thought to be negligible. Overexposure to UV causes burns in the short term - over long periods, it contributes to the risk of developing skin cancer.
The annual dose of UV on the skin from the worst case scenario is equivalent to that from a one week holiday in a sunny destination.
Additionally there is no evidence that short-term exposure to bulbs and fixtures used normally in offices or at home would cause any damage to the eye. The blue component of visible light can harm the retina but this is only caused by accidental exposure to sunlight or to very high intensity artificial lights.
Can LED Replace Natural Lighting?
Unfortunately, no artificial light can replace 100% daylight, though color temperature can have an emotional impact. Simple ceiling lights or floor lamps with conventional bulbs can not replace the effect of the sun under any circumstances. However, there are proven to be some types of LED lights that can have a positive impact on the mood and health of a person. Daylight white ( >5.300K) for example has a high blue content, this blue part supports the performance, which is why it is especially used in offices.
What Is the Most Natural LED Lighting?
To imitate daylight not only the light color, but also the brightness of the light is of interest. There are dimmable LED bulbs like the Philips DimTone, where the color temperature is adjustable, so that the light can be adjusted depending on the time of day and the light color. Either in the morning to enhance the performance or in the evening to provide relaxation.
However, for our organism, something else is crucial, namely the particular spectral composition of the daylight. As mentioned most LED lights do not contain IR and UV radiation. A full spectrum lamp, on the other hand, almost completely mimics natural daylight. Nevertheless, full spectrum light sources will not provide better health than most other electric light sources. Since natural light has a dynamic light spectrum and human daily activities are strongly influenced by the solar light/dark cycle.
Sylvania RefLED GU10
- 6.500K - Daylight
- Lifetime: 15.000h
- Replaces 50W
Philips LEDtube EM
- 6.500K - Daylight
- Lifetime: 30.000h
- Replaces 18W