This is my first winter in Boston after coming back from Senegal. The sun sets at around 4:15 now, and it’s suddenly become extremely salient how hard it is for me to focus after dark.
I’d vaguely noticed this in the past, and dealt with it by shifting my sleep schedule earlier (or just being unproductive). But I’m waking up around 6:30 now and I already struggle to stay up for evening events. So finally, inspired by some blog posts, I decided to give up on chasing natural sunlight and make my own instead.
I bought an extremely bright “corn cob” style bulb. It emits as much light as about 40 incandescents, and produces enough waste heat that it needs an internal cooling fan to dissipate it. I put it next to my desk, in my peripheral vision (it’s somewhat uncomfortable to look at directly). According to my questionably-accurate iPhone light meter, its reflection off the curtains in front of me is brighter than the actual sunlight coming in from the outdoors (at 600 lux), and overall light levels in my interior went from 50 to 400 lux (“sunrise or sunset on a clear day”). (source).
Update 2020-11-16: For my home, I ended up switching from the corncob bulb to three 7-way splitters and 21 100W equivalent 5000K Cree bulbs from Home Depot. I found the Cree bulbs on sale so they were about the same price, the light was more diffused and they have a higher color-rendering index. There’s discussion of other alternatives in the comments.