Beat the blues.
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The worst part of the winter isn’t the rain, snow, or bitter temperatures. After all, we can stay indoors and whack up the heating. The worst part is having to endure those short days and dark nights. Surely we can all agree that it sucks.
It’s so draining to go about your day without a single bit of sunlight, and it can be especially tough on office workers who spend every daylight hour stuck inside. It’s a struggle getting out of bed in the morning, let alone actually doing something productive or leisurely after the working day is finished.
It’s not all doom and gloom, because there are devices that can help. You don’t need to suffer through six months of darkness when SAD therapy lamps are available from a wide range of brands for every budget. These can help to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder for those who aren’t getting enough natural light.
What is seasonal affective disorder?Just as it sounds — and appropriately shortened to SAD — seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It usually affects people during the winter months, causing sufferers to feel low, lethargic, anxious, or irritable.
What causes seasonal affective disorder?According to the NHS guidelines, the cause of seasonal affective disorder is not fully understood though it’s usually linked to the lack of sunlight, which may prevent the brain from producing certain hormones or upset your body clock.
How does light therapy work?Spending around 30 minutes in front of a light is thought to reduce the effects of SAD by simulating sunlight, which can encourage your brain produce melatonin and serotonin to help with your sleep and moods. The NHS recommends light therapy as one of standard treatments for seasonal affective disorder.
What does lux mean?You’ll see this term a lot when shopping for therapy lamps. Lux is the unit of measurement for light intensity. According to some research, a light intensity of 2,500 can improve your wellbeing. Most of the lights listed below have a lux of up to 10,000.
How big are light therapy lamps?While the desired effects are essentially all the same — a means of getting some light on you — they do come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are portable, which allows you to take them wherever you go — particularly into the office, where a healthy amount of light can be hard to come by — while others are made to stay in a fixed spot.
What is the best SAD therapy lamp?It’s up to you to decide the lamp that works best for your lifestyle. But we’ve done the hard work of researching to help shine a light on the very best models.
These are the best SAD therapy lamps for 2023.
Lumie is a brand name you’ll see several times on this list. That’s because they’re the best of the best when it comes to therapy lamps. And the Lumie Halo is probably the best of all.
It’s not one you can easily stash in your bag and take on your commute, but that’s not really the point. The classic style makes this better for keeping around the home — particularly on a stylish table or nearby desk.
It has two modes — day mode and evening mode — which allows it to switch from energy-boosting daylight to relaxing blue light.
This moon light therapy lamp will bring a powerful, calming vibe to the room. It also has adjustable features, with three colour temperatures — ranging from 2700k to 6000K — and four levels of brightness. It not only improves your mood — it sets the mood. Simply select your settings via a remote control.
The light is small and compact, making it ideal for pretty much any surface or tight spot in your home, and uses UV-free LEDS. It’s also built with a timer which you can set for 10 to 90 minutes.
The Lumie Vitamin L Light Box is a slim and versatile light that can be used anywhere.
Take this light box with you to work or to school to improve your well-being and mood. It can be positioned portrait or landscape when you’re at the computer, having breakfast, reading, watching TV, or just about anything else you can imagine.
This Lumie device produces 10,000 lux, which mimics the natural light produced by the sun. If something does go wrong, you can always fall back on the Lumie three-year warranty.
The Beurer TL30UK SAD Lamp is made to tackle the symptoms of seasonal depression wherever you are. Looking distinctly like a tablet or kindle, it comes with a protective case and an adjustable stand (which allows you to place it either portrait or landscape, depending on your preference) — that means you can take it to the office for a constant blast of feel-good UV-free rays.
Otherwise, it’s sparse on features — it works with just one button — but that’s just fine. This one is designed for combating SAD while on-the-go.
The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 isn’t just for combatting SAD. It’s made to boost your health, wellbeing, and energy levels by gradually brightening before your alarm goes off (choose between 15 and 90 minutes). This mimics a natural sunrise, meaning you feel fresh and relaxed when you wake up.
You can also set it to gradually dim at night, helping you fall asleep more easily and get into a healthy, restful sleep pattern. It’s medically certified and proven to help with SAD. It has a snooze function, FM radio with five preset channels, 15 alarm sounds, plus a soothing white noise.
The Duronic SAD Light Therapy Box is another option that can help to alleviate symptoms caused by a lack of sunlight. And Duronic is also one of the manufacturers whose SAD lights are medically certified, which means you can buy with confidence. It can be used standing or mounted on a wall, which is especially beneficial for anyone who works in a small space.
It’s a lot like the Lumie Vitamin L, but it’s significantly bigger (34 x 48 cm) and a good £30 cheaper. Simply turn it on and off by pressing the easy-to-reach switch on the top of the lamp, and start your therapy.
Joseph joined Mashable as the UK Shopping Editor in 2018. He worked for a number of print publications before making the switch to the glittery world of digital media, and now writes about everything from coffee machines to VPNs.
Matt Ford is a freelance contributor to Mashable.