Light Therapy Lamps for Depression

Apr 11, 2023 | Depression

Light therapy lamps are the main tool used for light therapy. Light therapy, also known as bright light therapy, helps people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD typically affects people who live in parts of the world that get very little sunlight during the winter season. The biological clocks that regulate our sleep hormones, such as melatonin, can go off course when we aren’t exposed to sunlight regularly. This can lead to depressed mood, sleep irregularities, and sluggishness during the day. Research suggests that light therapy is effective for people with SAD. Light therapy also treats conditions such as non-seasonal depression, jet lag, sleep disorders, and dementia.

How does Light Therapy Work?

While light therapy doesn’t replace other forms of treatment, it can increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medication or other therapies. A light therapy lamp emits light that is similar to natural sunlight. All you need to do is sit near the light with your eyes open. But don’t look directly into the light! They’re most effective when used within the first hour after waking up for about 20-30 minutes. Some therapy lamps come with an alarm clock feature that begins to gradually brighten 30 minutes before waking time. This helps the brain to wake up naturally.

Which Therapy Lamp Should I Buy?

You don’t need a doctor’s prescription for a light therapy lamp, but it’s important to consult with your doctor if you have eye problems like glaucoma or cataracts. These lamps can also trigger manic episodes in some people with bipolar disorder so be sure to check with your doctor if you have a history (or family history) of mania.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate therapy lamps. However, these lamps are designed to meet certain standards. The best ones emit 10,000 lux of light and filter out most UV light. That’s what makes therapy lamps different from other lights such as tanning beds, which can cause skin cancer and have not been proven to work therapeutically.

The light therapy lamps listed below meet these guidelines, are highly rated, and come from reputable manufacturers:

Circadian Optics – Light Therapy Lamp – Lumine Edition – This is a no-frills, small lamp with three levels of brightness. It’s one of the most affordable lamps on the market.

Circadian Optics – Light Therapy Lamp – Lumos Edition – This lamp is another affordable option with three levels of brightness. It takes less table space than the Lumine edition.

Philips – SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock – Take the guesswork out of using a therapy light with this lamp that has both sunrise and sunset simulations, 20 brightness settings, a five natural wake-up sounds.

Verilux – HappyLight Duo 2-in1 Light Therapy & Task Floor Lamp – This lamp has a higher price point, but it can serve dual purpose as a regular floor lamp as well as a therapy light.

Sunrise Sensations – DayBright Light Therapy Lamp Full Spectrum – This lamp is also at a higher price point, but it combines functionality with beauty, so it reduces the need for storage.

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