8 Top-Rated Light Therapy Lamps to Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter
With its dreary combination of short days and cold nights, winter can take a toll on your mental health. If you start to feel down as the seasons shift, you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that typically begins in late fall or early winter and clears up when sunnier days arrive in the spring.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition can cause moodiness, low energy, sleep problems, changes in your appetite or weight, and more. Although the specific causes aren't quite known, SAD is often linked to your biological clock, which dictates processes like your sleep-wake cycle. Lower levels of sunlight in the fall and winter can disrupt your body's internal rhythms, leading to feelings of depression. It's estimated that millions of Americans suffer from SAD each year, though many might not recognize it. If you think you might be affected, first talk to your doctor to see what they recommend. In many cases, light therapy is an effective solution you can try at home.
Light therapy involves sitting in front of a specially designed light box each day for a certain period of time, usually between 15 minutes and an hour, to make up for a lack of natural sunlight. Although they typically provide bright, full-spectrum light that mimics that of the sun, light therapy lamps don't emit any harmful UV rays, so the treatment is generally safe for most people. It's also easy to incorporate into your day, as you can set the light on your desk while working or on the kitchen counter as you prep breakfast. Remember that you should be facing toward the light but not looking directly into it to avoid damage to your eyes.
- Best Overall: Erligpowht Light Therapy Lamp
- Best for Desktop Use: Verilux HappyLight Lucent Light Therapy Lamp
- Most Portable: Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp
- Most Stylish: Sunrise Sensations BrightBox Light Therapy Lamp
- Best Compact: Verilux Happy Light Compact Portable Bright Therapy Lamp
- Most Practical: Lastar Light Therapy Lamp
- Best Floor Lamp: Northern Light Technologies Flamingo Light Therapy Floor Lamp
- Best Splurge: Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp
If you're interested in trying this at-home remedy, the Mayo Clinic recommends a fixture that provides at least 10,000 lux (a unit that measures the total amount of light that falls on a surface) of UV-free light. These bestselling light therapy lamps can help ease the symptoms of SAD and brighten up your winter days.