The Effects of Artificial Lighting Vs. Sunlight

Sunlight contains color bands of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and indigo. Humans can see these colors when they are broken down by a prism. Two invisible wave lengths are also present in sunlight. They include ultra-violet and infrared. Artificial lighting contains a light made with an excess of one or more of the color rays. Artificial light can contain only one of the invisible infrared or ultra-violet rays at one time. Light, both natural and artificial, can affect humans, plants and animals in different ways.


Sunlight provides the necessary ultra-violet and infrared rays that are required for all living things to grow. A period of darkness is required for the cells to regenerate and rejuvenate. Living organisms have been constructed to work harmoniously with day and night.


Adverse effects of artificial lighting have been seen in humans. Studies have been completed that show elderly men do not absorb calcium if they spend most of their time indoors. These men were then exposed to a special artificial lighting that has been developed to mimic sunlight. Their absorption rate for calcium increased by 15 percent. "Light stress" can be caused by unnatural or artificial lighting. "Light stress" is an imbalance of the body rhythms. Normal body rhythms allow for the body temperature to rise and fall within a 24 hour time period. Interrupting this rhythm tricks the body into not performing vital processes needed to live healthy. Anabolic activities within a body can only take place at night. Artificial light can significantly disrupt your normal body rhythms.


Scientific studies have shown that plants that are grown under artificial lighting lack plant strength, flower color and fruit quality. Plants need to have periods of sunlight and darkness in order to grow properly. Placing plants under artificial lighting does not provide the plant with a sufficient amount of nutrients. An interesting study was completed on male and female pumpkin plants placed under artificial lighting. The female plants blossomed under a pink-colored light, but soon all the blossoms turned black and fell off the plant. When the pink-colored light was replaced with a blue one, the male blossoms turned black and fell off the plant. Due to the lack of natural sunlight, the pumpkin plants did not produce fruit due to the inability of both the female and male blossoms to bud.


Many studies have been conducted on animals with artificial lighting. Animals have the same needs for sunlight as humans. A study was completed on 1000 mice. The mice were divided into groups and placed under sunlight, a white fluorescent bulb and a pink fluorescent bulb. The mice under the sunlight produced an even amount of male to female off-spring. Those exposed to the white fluorescent bulb had more females (30 percent male and 70 percent female). In contrast, the pink fluorescent bulb changed the sex of the off-spring to 30 percent female and 70 percent male.

Keywords: sunlight artificial lighting, sunlight vrs artificial, artificial light studies

About this Author

Kim Blakesley has been a professional freelance writer and photographer since 2008. She mainly focuses on the fine arts and education in her writing. Her articles can be seen on DeWalt Tools and eHow. Her photographs appear on Blakesley attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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