If you have a seasonal affective disorder, where your mood decreases when days are shorter, these light therapy lamps may give some relaxation. When days get shortened and darker and winter triggers cloudy weather, we get less exposure to natural sunshine. Doctors agree that lack of sunlight can cause a chemical shift in the brain that can make you feel sad, allowing the government, sluggish and, ultimately, depressed.
When my doctor diagnosed me with SAD, she prescribed light therapy, one of the most common therapies endorsed by a lot of recorded studies.
I have tested and analyzed some of the most common light therapy lamps on the market. Since I’m not a physician or therapist, I can’t tell you if these lamps would be successful in managing the symptoms of depression or SAD. However, as someone who has both undergone and used light therapy as a treatment, I can suggest the lights are good for your mental health.
Verilux HappyLight Luxe
Verilux is one of the major names of light therapy lamps—you’ll find them all over the Amazon and the company has a wide collection of models. The HappyLight Luxury has a basic design with a large light panel that takes up almost the entire lamp. Simple isn’t intended as an insult here—A luxury laser treatment lamp has everything you need at a decent price.
It offers four brightness levels and three color temperature settings that allow the light to be warm, neutral, or imitated by daylight. There’s also an integrated timer that can be set at 5-minute intervals, up to 1 hour. You can either install the light board on the wall or use the provided stand, which tilts the lamp at an angle. You may also detach the stand and easily mount it to the back of the travel light plate.
Circadian Optics Lumos
I liked the lamp out of the box. It’s compact enough to fit into any small space or busy desk, and it feels solid. It has a sleek look that doesn’t yell, “I am a therapy light,” and it glides smoothly when you don’t need it. It has a simple power button that runs through three light levels: low, medium, and heavy.
What makes this lamp unique from the majority of it is that you can bend and rotate the light in several ways to get the ideal angle. You want the light to be on the level of the eye, and this lamp makes it easy to do that. The only knock I’ve got against Lumos is that it’s got the smallest light panel out of any of the lamps I’ve checked, at just 1.37 by 6.25 inches.
How to use a lamp for light therapy?
As far as the use of a light therapy lamp is concerned, you may need to contact your therapist or doctor for their advice on light therapy. Light therapy is not suited to all sorts of mental health problems—for example, many doctors suggest that people with bipolar disorder avoid it. Light therapy can also irritate the eyes or skin if you have certain medical issues or are taking certain medications.
There are some guidelines that you can follow:
- Place a light therapy lamp about 12 to 18 inches away from your face.
- Go on other things when using it, as long as your eyes remain within 12 to 18 inches of the lamp.
- Using the lamp in the early morning for 30 minutes, preferably shortly after you wake up.
- Don’t look at the light directly.