Ever wondered which light bulbs are the healthiest, safest, and best for the environment? This article and video will give you the rundown on what CFL, LED, and Edison bulbs are and which ones belong in a wholesome house.
One of the most common questions I get from people is what type of lighting they should put in their home.
This question makes me want to happy dance because I believe that biologically-compatible lighting is the foundation of a home environment that supports good health.
I believe that biologically-compatible lighting is the foundation of a home environment that supports good health
If you’ve ever wondered how to shop for basic healthy (biologically-compatible) lighting, I gotcha boo.
How to Shop For Healthy Light Bulbs (Video):
Facebook Live: Explaining to my Wholesome Houses tribe (Join Us!) exactly how to shop for biologically-compatible lighting at a home improvement store.
I was at Home Depot this weekend, you know chewing gum, minding my own business. As I was picking out my bulbs I decided to go live and show you how you can choose the best bulbs for your wholesome house. In this video I quickly discuss:
- Why you should have red light in your office (and which red bulbs to avoid)
- Why the mercury in some bulbs is so dangerous
- The best bulbs to use in most home applications
- How to choose a sleep-promoting nightlight
I do want to apologize for the gum. It has been brought to my attention that it is highly distracting, and I agree. Whoops!
What Do You Mean “Blue Light?”
The sun has a dynamic set of light wavelengths. Although we only see a small spectrum of those (ROY G. BIV, anyone?), other wavelengths exist outside these limited frequencies, including UV-A and UV-B.
According to this article in the Harvard Health Letter, “Not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.”
Why Is Blue Light So Biologically Disruptive?
The blue light emitted from LED and CFL bulbs (including tvs, overhead lights, and cell phone) is known to halt your body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Over time, this sleep cycle disruption can lead to changes in your body’s circadian rhythm (day-night cycle), which may be linked to cancer, weight gain, and other side effects.
The Harvard Health Article goes on to say, “Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. A mere eight lux—a level of brightness exceeded by most table lamps and about twice that of a night light—has an effect, notes Dr. Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher. Light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep, says Lockley, and researchers have linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.”
Which Whole House Bulbs Should I Get?
- BEST: Incandescent Bulbs
- Have a better blue:red ratio, making them the recommended option for whole-home use
- Do not touch bulb with bare fingers, which will leave oil on the glass
- Incandescent bulbs run hotter than their LED and CFL counterparts; Keep bulb away from flammable objects
- BETTER: Quartz Halogen Bulbs
- Typically creates relatively low levels of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), including dirty electricity, compared to other bulb types
- Most difficult to find in home improvement stores
- BETTER: Edison Bulbs (Antique Filament Bulbs)
- True filament bulbs produce a warm glow that is sure to put you in a great mood, but most “vintage bulbs” in home improvement stores are actually LED knock-offs. Buyer beware, be sure your bulb is a
- AVOID: LED Bulbs
- The most common form of light bulb in most home improvement stores, not recommended for most household uses
- Hard to avoid in many small and specialty lights; If an LED light is not needed (such as an on/off switch indicator), cover it with black tape
- LEDs should be avoided at night due to the high blue:red ratio which is highly disruptive to sleep
- LED bulbs create a lot of harmonics (sometimes called “dirty electricity”) and magnetic fields
- AVOID: Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Fluorescent Bulbs
- HAZARD: Contains mercury. Immediately evacuate room if bulb breaks! Never recommended in a wholesome house.
- May be especially dangerous to those with mercury fillings (because of a process called mercury resonance)
- High relative levels of blue light make fluorescent bulbs likely to negatively affect circadian rhythms.
A Note On Nighttime Lighting Strategies:
I recommend that you limit incandescent use (and avoid CFL and LED bulbs entirely), balance out the blues with low-watt red bulbs and/or candlelight. This incandescent salt lamp glows a beautiful orange. It is perfect for use in the bathroom at night.