During the winter, especially in cold regions, many people are experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Scientists suggest that one of the causes of such disorder might be the lack of sunlight. This problem also affects people who are in such positions that they have to work at night so they spend the day sleeping.

Full spectrum light bulbs are reported to have properties that deal with the above problems. Unlike regular light bulbs, these bulbs emit the full-spectrum light, similar to sunlight. They often have filters that absorb the harmful ultraviolet light. They are also made in different shapes and are good for artists too, because they allow distinguishing the finest color differences. However, some users claim that they do not provide enough luminescence. Full spectrum light bulbs are also more expensive than regular light bulbs.

Reported Benefits of Full Spectrum Light Bulbs

Fascinating health benefits of using these light bulbs have been reported. The users claim that they improve mood, lower the frequency of headaches, and decrease fatigue. In working environment, they are shown to increase the productivity and provide a better working atmosphere.

Scientific Evidence

The results of scientific studies showed no effectiveness of these products so far. Scientists also claim that many light bulbs advertized as full-spectrum, actually do not have that property. Also, the sunlight has variable spectrum which changes during the day, so these products do not resemble the sunlight in the exact same way. The beneficial effects reported might just be the placebo effect.

How to Choose a Full Spectrum Light Bulb?

If you decide to buy a full spectrum light bulb, the things you should pay attention to are the graphs that show the width of the light spectrum. If the line on the graph is smooth, that’s the product you’re looking for. Ultraviolet and infrared lights are very damaging for eyes and skin. Therefore, the bulb you choose should have the filters that absorb those parts of the spectrum. These bulbs emit very clear light which is ideal for the artists.

Lightboxes are Better Option

For persons suffering from SAD (Winter Blues), the best choice is the lightbox. Lightboxes are more expensive than light bulbs, but they have been scientifically proven to improve the symptoms of SAD, and at this time, they are the most commonly used treatment option. These boxes consist of infrared and UV filters and a fluorescent tube that emits the light. Persons who use light boxes usually report improvement of symptoms after 4 or 5 days after the beginning of the therapy.


Due to the lack of scientific evidence, we cannot say for sure if the full spectrum light bulbs are worth of use or not. Their effectiveness in the treatment of SAD is controversial, and more research is needed in order to discover their potential. What we can say is that they are certainly more close to the natural sunlight than the regular bulbs, and if you want to equip your house with the right full spectrum light bulbs, it will be expensive, but it will certainly provide a healthier and more natural environment.


McColl, S.L., Veitch, J.A. (2001). Full-spectrum fluorescent lighting: a review of its effects on physiology and health. Psychol Med. 31(6):949-64.

Parry, B.L. (2003). Light treatment of mood disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 5(4): 353–365.