Get 60% Off The Best Tips to Slow Aging
Lifestyle & Bioharmonizing

Healthy Lighting: Best & Worst Options For the Ultimate House

Photo of author



7 Minutes

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means Outliyr LLC gets a small commission if you buy (at no cost to you). Thanks for your support!

Healthy Lighting: Artificial & Natural Health Effects
Healthy Lighting: Artificial & Natural Health Effects

Ever leave a large public venue feeling tired and out of it?You didn’t feel mentally or physically lethargic before entering but somehow left a walking zombie.

Places like department stores, grocery stores, or even commercial gyms.

You likely haven’t considered the true culprit:

Bad light destroys our health in the same way as junk food. Share on X

Bad light is any light incompatible with our evolutionary biology.

And the modern era has changed our relationship with light. Instead of alternating between healthy light (like the sun) and shade, we now spend our days inside buildings designed to shield us from natural light. Then, when we should be asleep, light bulbs keep us productive into the wee hours. Until recently, the technology inside light bulbs mimicked the sun.

Light conveys information to the deepest levels of your biology. Each ray can be healing and health-promoting, or damaging and health degrading.

This post explores both ends. You’ll learn how to replace junk lights around the home with affordable and effective healthy lights.

What is Light?
The light spectrum

Light falls into a spectrum between the invisible ultraviolet on one side, and invisible (but felt) infrared on the other. We can see everything in the middle of the spectrum ranging from violet to red (pictured above).

The sun’s light spectrum shifts throughout the day, giving sun-dwellers exposure to each of the different spectrums. Humans evolved alongside sunlight. We’re great at handling it.

Similar to the way you form skin calluses to protect against friction and pressure, you form “sun calluses” to light. This explains how outdoors workers can withstand entire days under the sun, but the weekend office-working warrior gets burnt to a crisp in a matter of hours.

Generally, red and infrared light is most healing. That’s why red and infrared light therapy have become so popular.

The two most important factors when considering any light:

  • Brightness
  • Light spectrum

Technological breakthroughs have made light more “efficient” by concentrating certain colors (blue) and removing others (red and infrared).

Saving a few dollars at the expense of your vision, stress levels, and health.

How Junk Light Impacts Your Biology

Blue Light

Blue light isn’t bad.

Contrary to what you’ll hear from the blue-blocking biohacking crowd, the sun naturally produces it during the brightest hours of the day. Proper exposure reinforces a healthy circadian rhythm. Today, most of us get plenty from artificial sources.

But at the wrong time, it can ruin sleep. Laptops, phones, and TVs are big sources, but not the only.

Light bulbs too.

Some junk light may appear a warmer (yellowish) hue, but it’s really highly concentrated blue light. Too much exposure does a number on your body:

  • Weakens your eyes so you’ll need glasses sooner
  • Damages your retina
  • Disrupts your sleep and circadian rhythm


Junk light drains your brainpower.


Screens and bad lights both flicker on and off at rates of around 20,000 times per second. You don’t perceive. Your brain expends huge amounts of power to filter out this rapid flickering.

You can see the effect for yourself below:

Check your light sources with a video recording. It’s easiest to spot with old phones (have an iPhone 4 handy?), as newer ones have better filtering software.

Flicker is a stressor.

Your skin contains photoreceptors, sensory cells that react to the presence of light.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Jack Kruse partially attributes muscle pulls and hamstring issues, headaches, increased risk of concussion, and other muscle-skeletal injuries to bad lighting:

“Fluorescent lights and LED lights are always found in professional gyms, sports team facilities, and in film rooms. Most use them because they believe they are energy efficient but they have no idea they are harming the redox potential of their star athletes. Light from these sources penetrates the skin directly to cause damage to muscle below…”

The more digital our lives become, the higher our risk.

Flicker also impacts your productivity. Lighting expert Dr. Alexander Wunsch explained on a podcast that junk light can reduce your productivity by 20 percent.

Other documented effects of flicker include:

  • Headaches
  • Visual effects
  • Both neurological and physiological symptoms

It’s becoming clear that the danger of bad light extends beyond your vision.

Designing Your Perfect Light Environment

Time to put our knowledge to practice.

We’ll transform your light environment in two steps:

  1. Ruthlessly eliminating junk light
  2. Adding lots of good light

First, comes the worst junk light offenders.

Worst Sources of Junk Light (to Replace)

Here we have the hidden health saboteurs.

You’ll notice a pattern with sources of junk light. They’re:

  • Newer lighting technologies
  • Brighter, putting out more LUX (a measure of light power)
  • Ubiquitous throughout modern life

None of these deserve any place in your life. You cannot always remove them in public spaces (but you can protect yourself). Your home environment can become a high-quality sanctuary. Remove and shield yourself against these junk artificial lights.

Junk Light Source: Fluorescents, CFLs, and LEDs

light spectrum 5

Surprised these newer technologies made the naughty list?

I was too until I looked into how they work.

They save energy in two ways:

  1. Heavily concentrating the damaging blue light emissions
  2. Flickering, or turning on and off very quickly

These two “features” qualify them as junk light. All above side effects apply.

led lamp high lux 2
My desk lamp puts out almost 34,000 LUX, the same light intensity as the sun!

In addition, LEDs & fluorescents excel at interfering with your sleep. Why?

Merely 200 LUX suppresses melatonin production. They put out a lot more.

Artificial light puts out high lux
Green Business Light compares light intensities of different sources.

An app called myLux pegs an LED lamp in my apartment at about 34,000 LUX, the same amount as direct sun exposure during the daytime!

The light didn’t look that bright, so I wouldn’t have ever known.

My simple sleep hack? Swapping out that bulb.

Junk Light Source: Screens & Technology

You know that person ahead of you in the movies? The one inconspicuously texting throughout the film? Not aware that their face glows blue.

iPhones are notoriously bright.

Dimming your iPhone solves the brightness issue, but drastically worsens screen flicker. You've traded one problem for another. Share on X

Or you can set up your phone to add a red hue overlay.

How to set a red screen filter on iPhone to block blue and green light at night – sleep & melatonin
Built-in iPhone blue-blocking filter

It’s an imperfect bandaid.

Better yet, use technology:

  • Blue blocking glasses
  • Special software.

Light Hack: Wear Blue-Blocking Glasses

Sometimes you have to venture out of your melatonin-protected sanctuary, into a world overpowered by bright (blue) light. Blue-blocking glasses to the rescue.

Blue-blockers do exactly what you would expect: they filter out blue light. With less blue light, melatonin can remain elevated as it should through the night. There are lots of good brands from super cheap to premium options.

No glasses are perfect. They block most but not all blue light. Quality products usually block more of it. As an added bonus, sometimes they block other melatonin-disrupting (to a lesser extent) spectrums like green.

I rock these most nights or when I enter areas with bad lighting, like warehouse grocery stores.

Light Hack: Use IrisTech Software

I won’t hide it; I log a lot of hours in front of my computer.

Advanced software called IrisTech offsets most of the damage caused by heavy laptop use, even at night. Share on X

Like f.lux, macOS’s NightShift, and other software in the category, IrisTech reduces how much blue light your laptop emits.

But IrisTech goes far beyond the others.

So much so that I recently wrote an IrisTech review post.

IrisTech software does some pretty neat things:

  • Uses special technology to offset retina-destroying LED screen flicker.
  • It allows a wider morning/evening color spectrum.
  • Prevents eye strain.
  • Reduces eye pain.
  • Works everywhere (including external monitors, docking stations and projectors).

Junk Light Source: Filtered Natural Sunlight

trucker damage face web
Sunlight through windows ages the skin, commonly seen in truck drivers.

One small change ruins sunlight. It instantly turns quality light into junk light.

The one ruiner?

Glass windows.

That’s why truck drivers’ faces age faster on one side than the other.

Sun rays coming through windows might feel good. They turn an otherwise beneficial healer into another junk toxin. Share on X

Here’s why:

Infrared Rays

Recall from earlier that infrared light provides signals and healing information to the body in response to light exposure. Infrared makes up 40 percent of sunlight. Glass filters out all healing infrared light.

Ultraviolet Rays

Ultraviolet light comes in three forms: UVA, UVB, and UVC. We’ll focus on the more researched first two:

  • Too much UVA penetrates deep and ages your cells. It isn’t all bad though.
  • UVB helps your body manufacture vitamin D. UVB also gives us the telltale sign of sunburning — a signal to seek shade. That’s the issue.

Glass filters out UVB but not UVA. You don’t burn or pinken but get tons of deeply damaging UVA.

Unless you like the leather-skinned look of a beach dweller, filtered light won’t help.

Without infrared light or UVB, sunlight lacks beneficial healing properties while penetrating deeply and accelerating your aging.

Premium lighting has survived the test of time. Enjoy any of these best old-school lighting technologies.

Healthiest Home Lighting Options

There are three great light sources.

  • Natural: sunlight
  • Man-made: incandescent & halogen

These two artificial light sources provide the full spectrum of light, so they use more power than CFLs or LEDs. I came up with a great hack to reduce electricity usage: I turn them off when I leave the room ;).

Macular degeneration and starting to rely on glasses at an earlier age isn’t cheap or good for the environment either.

Unfiltered Sunlight

What do the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Incans, and Assyrians have in common?

They all practiced Heliotherapy: sun exposure prescribed as a cure for various ailments.

Sans any glass windows. Completely out in the open.

Without adequate sun we’re more vulnerable to:

  • Autoimmune thyroid disorder
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • 25 types of cancer

Just ten minutes on bare skin in the morning or evening can make a big difference.


incandes lightbulb
Incandescent light bulbs are biologically friendly.

Aesthetically and biologically pleasing. An original form of lighting.

For several years, only stockpilers had access to these eye-savers.

Banned in the USA by the Obama administration, Trump reintroduced incandescent lighting.

Incandescent bulbs look good and come in countless different color spectrums. You can find something good for every room.

When choosing a product, make sure it isn’t actually an LED in disguise. I like this brand.


halogen bulb

Halogen is more complicated.

They are more expensive to install and operate. Quite a bit more expensive.

You see them in use every day. Halogens power most car headlights, stage lighting, and projectors.

Even more than incandescent bulbs, halogens mimic the spectrum of the sun, sometimes including small amounts of UV.

Halogen light is a healing form of light.
Much of halogen light is in the healing infrared spectrum.

Before rushing out to re-outfit your entire house with halogens, you should know a few things:

  • Heat is an issue. Since they emit large amounts of infrared light (heat), the bulbs get quite hot.
  • Safe. Unlike other bulbs, halogen lamps do not contain mercury.
  • Glass filters out most UV. For use in bedrooms, and other places you spend time before sleep, consider shielding the bulb with glass.
  • Bright & light. Halogens illuminate effectively at a higher color temperature. They put out a lot of light. Great for workstations.

I’ve stuck primarily to incandescents, so I cannot recommend any halogen brands.

Your Natural & Artificial Light Therapy Plan

Armed with the right lighting, let’s dig into what you can actually do to tip the scales in your favor.

I like to think about my exposure to light in three parts:

  1. Sunrise through morning
  2. Throughout the work-day
  3. Sundown through sleep

Your circadian rhythm aligns with the sun, so it makes sense to align your light exposure accordingly. Even when you plan on spending time indoors.

How does natural sunlight color and brightness change throughout the day?


Red —> Blue —> Red


Dim —> Bright —> Dim

Natural environments shift (very slowly) between the above stages, on a second-by-second basis.

I build my environments accordingly with either incandescent or halogen lights (when I had them):

My bedroom has the reddest (2000K) bulbs I could find. They are dim and barely light up the room. Very conducive to gently falling asleep and waking up.

My home office has two types of lights, both brighter and bluer than the bedroom.

  1. One is a dim transition light (4000K).
  2. The other is powerful and very blue (6000K).

I start and end my workday with the 4000K bulbs, and throughout the middle of the day use 6000K lighting.

Hack Your Home Light Exposure Today

All these changes can seem overwhelming.

Cheap and easy lighting changes can eliminate bad lighting, protect our sleep, keep us protective, prevent injury, and save our eyes. Share on X

While the cleanest setup includes nothing but the best lighting, make one change and get started today. Then, when you sleep like a baby and wake up feeling great, you will feel motivated to continue on biohacking your environment lighting.

To recap:

  • Remove: Eliminate as many sources of LED lighting as possible.
  • Replace: Change out LEDs with more natural incandescent or halogen options.
  • Shield: On the devices necessary to your life, shield with software, glasses, or both.

What does your lighting setup look like?


Post Tags: Environment, Light, Sleep, Vision

Leave a Comment