SAD is a type of depression that occurs during different seasons and commonly known as ‘winter depression’, because for a lot of people the symptoms occur during the darker, colder months of winter.
Light therapy is one of the treatments for SAD, which some people find improves their mood considerably. It requires a person to sit in front of a SAD lamp or ‘light box’, for 30 minutes to an hour each morning. The light emitted simulates light from the sun which is thought to increase the production of the happy hormone, serotonin, in our brain.
If you’d like to try a SAD light or think one could work for you, then we’ve rounded up some of the best reviewed ones on the market.
Do seasonal affective disorder lamps work?
There’s mixed evidence regarding whether light therapy is one hundred per cent effective, but there are a number of studies that have proven it can help, especially if used first thing in the morning. Light therapy is believed to relieve SAD symptoms (persistent low mood, lacking energy, having a loss of interest in everyday activities and being more irritable) but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience SAD the following winter.
Are seasonal affective disorder lamps suitable for everybody?
Yes, they're usually safe for everyone to use. Medically approved SAD lamps have filters in them, so you won't be affected by any harmful UV rays. However, if you have an eye condition (or are particularly sensitive to light) or are on medication that increases this sensitivity, then it may not be suitable for you to use.
It’s also important to note that there are side effects that may occur when using a SAD lamp, such as tiredness, blurred vision, getting headaches, sore eyes or struggling to sleep. These are usually mild side effects which don’t last long.
Always check with your GP first if you’re unsure about whether you are suitable to use a seasonal affective disorder lamp.
Seasonal affective disorder lamps: the best to buy
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Lumie Vitamin L Slim SAD Light
Lumie has been researching and designing light therapy products for the past 30 years to help those suffering from SAD and this particular light boasts hundreds of five star reviews for its effectiveness. Itu2019s slim and lightweight design makes it easy to move around the house to wherever you may need it and can be positioned in portrait or landscape.
Verified customer review: “When I first moved to London from the USA, I had the toughest winter of my life. I moved from a country with year-round sun to a country where it felt like there was a ceiling covering the sun the whole winter. I felt genuinely depressed from about Sept to March… not really a great situation!
I bought this SAD lamp and started taking a vitamin D supplement the following Sept. I used the lamp as I ate breakfast and went about my morning (I used it like an extra light in the kitchen, near enough that it felt bright but not so near that I had to sit right in front of it). Total game-changer!! I've used it now for 2 years for perhaps 1000 hours over that time and its performance has not faltered. Life changing!!”
Beurer TL30 Portable Daylight/SAD Lamp
This medically approved light from Beurer also has a sleek design making it suitable for transporting around the house or wherever you may be. It comes with a handy little storage bag to pop it in when not in use, is flicker-free and UV-free too.
Verified customer review: “This daylight therapy lamp has given me a real boost now the winter season is quickly approaching. It is compact and portable with a versatile stand. The lamp is simple to use and easy to store away when not in use.
It's fantastic for winter well being and provides a strong bright light which is constant with no flickering. An absolute must for anyone who suffers with the ' winter blues'.”
Luminise Light Therapy Lamp
This UV-free no glare LED light delivers 10,000 LUX brightness for maximum effectiveness. It also comes with a stand holder and you can even choose your light colour to the one which makes you feel most relaxed and comfortable.
Verified customer review: "My partner suffers with depression. I got him this for Christmas and it's made a huge difference. He finds it fantastic."
If youu2019re after a SAD light that looks good too, then this one from Lumie is perfect - we love the copper ring outside, which glows warmly when you turn it on. It also comes with different lighting modes too, such as u2018dayu2019u2019 and u2018eveningu2019 mode, to simulate the light accordingly.
Verified customer reviews: "To start with, this is a beautiful piece of design, it really is fantastic to look at with the illuminated copper backlight - and that's only going to help cheer you up in the gloomy winter months. The setup is very easy, a couple of magnetic legs slot on easily, and then a simple power lead. The controls are incredibly responsive and intuitive, touch controls for on/off and with/without blue light, and then a slider bar for brightness. The only real issue is the backlight control, it's supposed to be a couple of taps on the top of the unit, but I really have to whack it to get it to work, and even then it doesn't consistently turn on or off."
Lumie Sunrise Alarm
A sunrise alarm clock, which gradually lights up your bedroom as you wake up, can also be useful in treating SAD symptoms. This one from Lumie starts 30 minutes before your alarm time and has additional expert-recorded alarm sounds too, such as birds singing and kittens purring. When you go to bed there's a 30 minute dimming setting that can be used to help you relax before you snooze into a perfect slumber.