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A Bright Idea
If you have ever experienced winter in Chicago, gray actually starts to grow on you and you accept the fact that you may never see blue skies ever again.
Winter is depressing.
According to Mental Health America, 5% of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in a given year. In fact, the median age of onset of SAD is between 20 and 30 years, which means if you’re a recent grad working in an office in a city that has winter (like Chi-beria), you are at risk.
Luckily, light therapy for this disorder has been recommended and you don’t need a prescription for it.
Before you go to Office Depot and buy a desk lamp, let’s take a look at these lamps specifically designed for SAD, which are ironically called ‘SAD Lamps’.
How Does It Work?
While there are no findings that clearly link light therapy with effects of an antidepressants, according to The Mayo Clinic, light therapy has been shown to be effective with 85% of those that were diagnosed with SAD.
If you are interested in trying an alternative to medication, then a SAD lamp might be best for you. However, those with a history of clinical depression or bipolar disorder should consult a mental health professional before using one of these lamps.
Additionally, SAD lamps are meant to be used at an appropriate morning hour for a minimum of 30 minutes every day in order to correct the circadian rhythm, or the internal body clock. When used correctly, mood will be improved as serotonin levels are increased and melatonin will become more regulated, thus increasing quality of sleep.
Studies have shown that subjects benefitted from the use of light therapy, but relapsed after they stopped treatment. As a result, light therapy works best when used habitually.
So, what do I buy?
After looking at the top-rated SAD lamps on Amazon based on user reviews, we have come up with 5 SAD lamps that could potentially cure your ‘winter blues’.
If you want BASIC: AMAZON’S CHOICE: Carex Health Brands Day-Light Sky 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp (DL2000)
With 66% of users giving Carex Health Brand’s product 5 stars, it comes at no surprise that this lamp has helped many through the winter months.
Users praised the sturdy design and one customer was happy to say the lamp was built “like a tank”.
However it is important to note that the lamp is not small with the light box being 10”x13” and the height being 24” at full stretch. Bringing this to work may be a little obnoxious, but it would be best kept at home.
Despite the size, users praised the adjustability of the lamp and their ability to fold it down when it was not in use. The Center of Environmental Therapeutics approves of this lamp along with customers that felt the lamp allowed them to “feel more upbeat” even in the coldest months.
If you want PORTABLE: Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal, Portable Light Therapy Energy Lamp
If you are looking for a smaller lamp that you use in an office or carry in a backpack, then Verilux may have the lamp for you.
Of all the reviews, 67% of users gave this HappyLight 5 stars due to its portability and ability to emit up to 5,000 LUX. From winter blues to jet lag, this lamp can help you feel better and get you back on track.
One customer explained how the winters they spent in Colorado and Minnesota have become more bearable after using the HappyLight from Verliux in their windowless classroom.
Another user pointed out that while the lamp “can’t replace sunlight”, it “certainly helps” in treating their SAD along with eating better and exercising regularly.
Some users commented that the bright light took some time getting used to, but overall users felt “way better” in the grim and dark winters after using the HappyLight.
If you want CUSTOMIZABLE: Verilux HappyLight Liberty 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Energy Lamp
Looking for a light that is portable, but also customizable? Well, Verilux has another light up their sleeve: the HappyLight Liberty.
Whereas the HappyLight only emits 5,000 LUX, the HappyLight Liberty can go as high as 10,000 LUX while also being customizable. Light intensity can be adjusted to high or low settings based on personal preferences.
74% of users gave the HappyLight Liberty 5 stars and some even described it as “life changing”. The lamp itself is small enough to “not take up a huge footprint” and a desk and it also has a long power cord. While some users felt that it wasn’t as good as sunlight and that it was a “nice concept, but didn’t work” for them, it is important to remember that SAD lamps work best when used consistently with other healthy lifestyle habits.
Overall, the HappyLight Liberty has left a majority of customers “very satisfied”.
If you want FANCY: Northern Light Technology Travelite 10,000 Lux Bright Light Therapy Portable Light Box, Beige
Finding yourself wanting something portable, but a little bit fancier? Then check out Northern Light Technology’s Travelite lamp.
One user stated that the light box has allowed them to “break free from an extremely rare circadian rhythm disorder” and that it changed their life. While these claims should be taken with a grain of salt, the Travelite lamp has undoubtedly left users happier.
One customer was convinced to buy this lamp because of its sleek design and the thick acrylic filter that blocked harmful UV rays. However, some users found the Travelite too large and that it’s 12-inch size wasn’t best suited for travel.
Despite this, 64% of users found the Travelite worth the 5 star review and were very happy with their purchase.
If you want COMPACT: Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp | Ultra Bright 10,000 Lux Full Spectrum LED Light (White)
While most of the lamps come in a larger tablet-shaped design, Circadian Optics came up with the Lumos lamp, which features a smaller and minimalist aesthetic.
The Lumos has 3 separate hinges in the base, top and light panel, which allows the lamp to be configured to shine in any direction or angle one needs it to be.
One user raved about this feature and how they were able to have the light point wherever they liked and that the portability was a plus. When compared to other lamps, customers favored the Lumos lamp due to it’s compact shape, brightness and design.
A few customers had some electrical issues with their Lumos lamp, but they were eager to purchase a new one.
Of all the customers, 74% gave the Lumos 5 stars and were very happy with how it helped alleviate their SAD.
Evidently, SAD lamps have been found to help many people with their seasonal depression. It is important to remember that there is still no proof showing that SAD can be cured with these lamps, but they are still worth a try.
If you find yourself feeling down and just need a little mood booster, eating right, exercising and maybe introducing a SAD lamp to your routine can help. But, if you might be suffering from clinical depression of bipolar disorder, you should seek help from a mental health professional.
Winter can be a tough season to get through for many, which means people need all the help they can get. It may not be proven that SAD is cured by these lamps, but they can certainly help people feel better. Don’t let the name mislead you, and maybe next winter, give a SAD lamp a try.
Why should I listen to you?
More than ever, people are focused on their health and well-being. And, because of this increased interest, that means there are tons of products on the market to help achieve that goal. From kitchen gadgets that make cooking easier, to reusable water bottles, sleep aids, and workout gear, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.
That’s why we wanted to do the hard work for you. We’ve committed to trying out some of the most popular health and wellness products on Amazon. Here’s what happens:
We scour Amazon for the best rated or most reviewed products in health and wellness categories: whether that’s something for the kitchen, supplements, or lifestyle products. Then, we order and try them. We give each product a spin – being as unbiased as possible.
Next, we write up our thoughts, our experiences with the product, and any feedback we may have. And we publish it here for you. You’ll find the links to the same exact Amazon products we tried in these articles.
That’s it – easy! And if you have a product you’d like us to try before you buy, let us know.
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