Bright Lights Can Cause Physical Burnout

This past weekend I was reminded that while good lighting is essential for peak performance, anything taken to an extreme can have negative effects. Mark LeBlanc*, my coach and friend came to Richmond, Virginia, to present his weekend program, Achiever’s Circle. He and I had to make a decision about the best location for him to speak in a meeting room with less than ideal lighting. At one end was a bright fluorescent fixture that gave off very bright light. At the other end were two incandescent table lamps on end tables.

The first day Mark spoke under the bright light. The following two days he spoke at the other end of the room in dimmer light. When I asked Mark about what he noticed about both locations he told me that the bright fluorescent light was just too bright. At the end of his three hour session he was exhausted. He didn’t experience the same exhaustion when speaking at the other end of the room.

This is such a good example of how the kind of light and its qualities can affect performance. Usually I opt for plenty of light for any activity that requires concentration and focus. But, taken to an extreme, lighting, like anything else, can be detrimental. The fact that the lighting was fluorescent probably contributed to Mark’s fatigue. Fluorescent lighting, which buzzes and pops and is not full spectrum, is very difficult on the nervous system.

Feeling exhausted? Be conscious of how much time you spend under bright fluorescent lighting. It could be sucking the energy out of you!

*Mark runs Small Business Success out of Minnesota. He is a small business coach, professional speaker, and author of Growing Your Business and Never be the Same. He can be contacted at

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