8 Best Light Therapy Lamps on Amazon for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Learn how bright light exposure can help alleviate the symptoms of season affective disorder, and check out the highly rated light therapy lamps on Amazon that meet the expert criteria.
Light therapy lamps for SAD
But the effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD can be among the most debilitating. “SAD is a type of depression that’s related to a change in seasons,” says Nina Maisterra, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at the University of Washington in Seattle. “If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” The symptoms may start out mild but become more severe as the season progresses, she says.
While SAD shares some of the indicators of depression like sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, and withdrawing from family and friends, there are unique symptoms of SAD, says Norman Rosenthal, MD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School in Washington, D.C., and the doctor who first described the condition. “People get low energy and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning; they need more sleep and when awake they are fatigued; and they eat more, especially sweets and starches,” he explains.
One of the first, and most effective, treatment options is a light therapy box, Dr. Rosenthal says. “It’s very time-efficient, cost-effective, and has low side effects,” he says. An analysis of 19 studies of light therapy treating SAD, published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found light boxes can be regarded as an effective treatment for SAD. And light therapy may be so effective that it has the potential in treating other types of depression, compared with Prozac, according to a 2016 peer-reviewed study in JAMA Psychiatry.
The light appears to activate connections between the retina and the brain involved in emotional and chemical regulation, Dr. Rosenthal explains. “It seems as though the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is the chemical some antidepressants work on, are also influenced and activated by light.” He says that in the darker months the pathways between the eye and the brain don’t register as powerfully because there isn’t enough light to trigger them, so supplementing light intake in individuals with SAD will help activate the pathway which is connected to key mood-regulating neurotransmitters. (Here are other ways to turn your mood around.)
Here are the best light therapy lamps to help alleviate symptoms of SAD, according to reviews on Amazon.
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus
Designed similar to the models university researchers use to study the effectiveness of light therapy lamps, this full-spectrum light is easily adjustable in terms of height and angle. Mounted on a pedestal stand, the light projects downward, an angle that light-therapy experts recommend. This light is multi-functional with two settings, therapy and task, so it’s also a useful work lamp. Tip: Dr. Rosenthal advises looking for a light therapy device that gives off 10,000 lux of light, which is the intensity that has been studied in the research.
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp, $136, amazon.ca
(Psst: Do you know what else has been proven to boost your mood? A good hair day!)
Northern Light Technologies Flamingo
A 46-inch-tall floor lamp, the stylish Flamingo is fashionably at home in any décor, brightening reading areas or workspaces. The novel Northern Light Technology design enables the light to be used while on an exercise bike or treadmill. The extra-long power cord allows you to position the Flamingo wherever you need the rejuvenating light. Dr. Rosenthal advises to make sure the lamp has an illuminated surface area of at least a square foot so you are absorbing enough light for a therapeutic dose. And make sure the device has a UV screen so you are not exposing yourself to damaging rays, he cautions.
Northern Light Technologies Flamingo 10,000 Lux Bright Light Therapy Floor Lamp, $220, amazon.ca
GLIME Happy Sun Lamp
With three settings—6000, 10,000, 32,000 lux—this portable therapy light has dimensions and weight as a tablet. Pre-set with 10-minute, 20-minute and 30-minute timers, the Happy Sun Lamp will power off a light therapy session. Similar to a tablet, this device has a foldable bracket that allows you to set it up just about anywhere. Interested in buying this for someone you love who may have SAD? Learn how else you can support a loved one with depression.
GLIME Lux Happy Sun Light with Timer, $106, amazon.ca
Carex Theralite Aura
This light can be used as a desk lamp and for light therapy, and the height and angle of light are easily adjustable. The lamp has four light settings and includes 168 energy-efficient LED lights for light therapy or work at a desk. Using a light box means the weather doesn’t have to get the best of you. Want another way to boost your mood? Try eating these foods.
TheraLite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp, $120, amazon.ca
Aura Daylight Lamp
With over 200 five-star reviews, the sleekly designed, the Aura Daylight Lamp is an Amazon favourite. It allows light output to be set between 3,500 lux and 10,000 lux. For a comfortable position, the light can be tilted at a 70- or 85-degree angle and easily mounts to a wall in addition to setting on a table. An internal timer can be set at 10-minute intervals and can be set to automatically turn off at the end of a session.
Aura Daylight Therapy Lamp, $130, amazon.ca
(Psst: Learn how Kate Middleton helps her brother who suffers from mental illness.)
Serfory Light Energy Therapy Lamp
With the same surface area of two tablets for more light exposure, this lamp offers three timer settings, three light colours, and five brightness levels–from 25 percent or 2,500 lux up to 100 percent and 10,000 lux. Styled similar to a desktop computer monitor, the lamp can be angled for maximum benefit. Looking for another way to battle depression naturally? Incorporate these foods into your diet.
Serfory Light Energy Therapy Lamp, $160, amazon.ca
Northern Light Technologies BOXelite Desk Lamp
This delivers 10,000 lux at 14 inches distance from the screen, making it easier to receive the SAD-busting lights. With classic, understated styling, this lamp is ideal for the office or home. This lamp is also handy to have for any other work or home tasks that require additional lighting. Your eyes should be open so your retina is absorbing light, so you can read or eat breakfast while taking advantage of your light therapy box, Dr. Maisterra suggests.
Northern Light Technologies Boxelite Lux Bright Light Therapy Light Box, $199, amazon.ca
SAKOBS Bright White Therapy Light
This slim, portable lamp is one of the most affordable models among the top-rated Amazon therapy lights. The slim profile is designed for easy packing and travel. The lamp includes a 360-degree standing bracket, enabling you to optimally position the lamp just about anywhere. The SAKOBS lamp offers four timer settings from 15 to 60 minutes and three brightness levels, 2000 lux, 10,000 lux and 12,000 lux.
sakobs Light Therapy Lamp, $76, amazon.ca
Before trying light therapy, Dr. Maisterra warns that you should speak to a doctor because the lamps can induce manic episodes in those with bipolar episodes.
Now that you know how to boost your mood at home, learn the ways you can boost your mood at work.