What is Full Spectrum Daylight?

The original idea of full spectrum light goes back over 50 years: During the early twentieth century, the US Navy actively researched methods to combat diseases that commonly appeared on submarines where no natural daylight exposure was available to the crew for many days, weeks – or even months.

Ultimately, NASA provided a solution by creating the first natural daylight simulating tubes with added UV output to help the crew stay healthy even without access to actual daylight.

In the early 1950s, Dr. John Ott made a name for himself with full spectrum light when he devised a way to capture the growth of plants in slow motion for a Walt Disney® production that had to be filmed indoors. Initially, the plants failed to produce blossoms and even died because of insufficient daylight exposure; this eventually led to the creation of a new lighting range, specifically developed for this purpose.

In those early days, few could afford the expensive tubes that were made for such specific purposes, but nowadays the awareness of many people has changed.

After all, how many products do you know that can make such a great difference in your life by something as simple and easy as changing some light bulbs in your home or office?

Analysing the Spectrum - the Viva-Lite® Advantage

Full Spectrum Light literally means "the sun’s full light spectrum that reaches us on earth". Having evolved millions of years under this particular light, one would expect this spectrum to be ideal, balanced and healthy for the human mind and body.

And surely it is. Everybody knows the difference of how we feel on a bright sunny day in comparison to the moods swings we encounter on dark grey days. The reason for this are the differences in the spectrum between sunlight and artificial light.

When we look at a lamp we think produces white light, it does not mean that its light spectrum actually includes all seven colours of the rainbow.

It is well known that the millions of colours produced by TV’s and computer screens are only generated by the combination of the three colours (R)ed, (G)reen and (B)lue. But since we are not able to consciously see the actual spectrum behind a light source, we tend not to question it and are therefore not always aware that common tubes and energy saving lamps have only those three peaks of colour (RGB) - the remaining areas, where Viva-Lite® shows colours, are dark.

But to see and feel good, we need all wavelengths of light. The goal of Viva-Lite® therefore is to offer its customers a balanced source of light, including a continuous spectrum, at a not too high, not too low colour temperature and a colour reproduction as close to the sun as possible.

Light Spectrum Comparison The spectrum of ordinary daylight lamps (3-band) are discontinuous. Areas, where Viva-Lite® has colours, are dark.
The spectrum of Viva-Lite® full spectrum is continuous and all wavelengths of visible light are present.

„Light is invisible, that's why we take it for granted, but when you look behind the curtain of white light and see all the colors of the spectrum, you suddenly realize: white is not = white."


Margit Brusda, Co-Founder Viva-Lite®

Why a better Light Spectrum matters

Our lives and working style has tremendously changed over the past 100 years. When previously most people were working somewhere outdoors – farmers for instance – exposure to natural daylight was common and absolutely normal. Of our daytime we spent around 90% outside and 10%, or even less, inside. Not so today:

  • Professions and society has changed: Our working time is mostly indoors.
  • Offices, homes, shopping centres etc. use double glassing and energy efficient building methods: They are almost completely closed to natural light.

As a result, we generally spend much less than 10% of our daytime outside and many of us are now unable to receive our daily dose of natural daylight. This we need not only for our daily dose of “good mood” but also on a purely physical level. Some parts of the suns full spectrum are essential for maintaining healthy and balanced body functions by controlling the release of hormones. Such parts of the sun's spectrum (for example UV) are not included in normal incandescent lamps, most energy saving lamps or tubes.

"We have at last realised that light is a foodstuff like normal food and, just as unbalanced diet makes us ill, wrong lighting can also make us ill and only correct lighting can preserve our health. Research in this field has made significant strides, but there is still a lot to do."

J. Ott: Risk Factor Artificial Light – Stress due to incorrect illumination

For those concerned about UV exposure, it should not be forgotten that everything depends on the dosage. An absolute minimum of not less than 15 minutes sunshine exposure is needed to get our daily dose of Vitamin D3 transferred into a usable form for our bodies. Unfortunately even this very minimal amount of time is not easy to achieve in todays industrialized society. This lack is thought to lead to a number of chronic and widespread diseases such as for instance osteoporosis*.

"Numerous medical investigations have revealed that for a number of body functions human beings too depend on a minimum UV light radiation."

K. Staniek: Twilight – Ecology of Artificial Brightness.

Whatever product you choose, lamps with the Viva-Lite® spectrum offer its customers a balanced source of light including a continual spectrum as possible and a colour reproduction as close to the sun as possible.

In addition to the spectrum analysis, a quick look at the colour temperature (in Kelvin) of Viva-Lite® full spectrum light shows a natural resemblance to that of sunlight:


Photo of painting taken under normal energy saving light with ± 3000 K colour temperature. Photo of painting taken under Viva-Lite® full spectrum daylight, ± 5500 K colour temperature.

"The type of unnatural lighting has influence on the depressive behaviour of school-going children during the winter months (mood changes, lack of energy, increased appetite, irritability, increased feeling of apprehension as expression of season related emotional disorders - known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD or winter depression), which affects their motivation to learn. Under full spectrum lighting, depressive symptoms among pupils showed significant regression as against under lighting with cold white fluorescent light."


W. Tithof: The Effects Of Full Spectrum Light on Student Depression as a Factor in Student Learning Dissertation (Waiden University).

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We hope you enjoy your visit on the Viva-Lite® homepage and are happy about your Comments.

*for further independent information and research about the consequences of vitamin D deficiency, please see Dr. Holwick's homepage.

ord pic

Comparing the Spectrum

Standard Tri-Phosphor Lamp

Sun Spectrum

Viva-Lite® Spectrum

A brief comparison shows significant deficits in the light spectrum of normal energy saving lamps or tubes when compared with the sun. Viva-Lite® Full Spectrum Lights instead balance these deficits using a highly specialised manufacturing process.

Terms from the Glossary



View the complete glossary here...