How to Choose the Best Light Therapy Lamp?
Table of Contents
Top Best Light Therapy Lamp Based on Reviews and Price
Does Light Therapy Lamp Really Work?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects around 5% of all Americans. There are no statistics on how big this issue is worldwide, but the free estimates are millions. Even only if we consider the population in America suffering from SAD, we are looking at roughly 16 million Americans. That’s by any standards a big number.
Researchers believe that the lack of sunlight causes SAD. It is typical during the winter months. The symptoms are similar to those of depressions like feeling sluggish, having a hard time concentrating, finding it difficult to get up from bed in the morning, low energy, feeling depressed throughout the day, and so on.
In recent times, one of the most popular treatments includes using UV-filtered light therapy lamps, which are also known as SAD lamps. The thing with this type of lamps is they can mimic the sun’s rays, which have been proven to boost the mood with folks suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
However, not all light therapy lamps are made the same. Our guide is made with a purpose to help you navigate through the world of light therapy lamps and choose accordingly. That way, you can buy the best light therapy lamp that can help you deal effectively with your winter blues.
Top 10 Factors to Know Before Buying a Light Therapy Lamp
#10 Make Sure it’s Made Specifically for SAD Therapy
Thing is certain similar lamps are made for other purposes like for skin disorders, and even they might look similar. However, just because they too emit light, it doesn’t mean they have anything in common. Therefore, they are practically useless for seasonal affective disorder therapy.
Lamps used for skin therapy depend on the use of UV light, which can potentially damage your eyes if used as a light therapy lamp. On the other hand, light therapy lamps filter most UV lights. It is a fundamental difference that makes light therapy lamps quite distinctive from the other lamps out there.
That is why you should first ask whether a lamp is made for SAD treatment or something else.
#9 Consider the Light Intensity (LUX)
Light therapy lamps emit light that is measured in “lux”. The minimum light intensity for light therapy to be effective is 2,500lx – even though most light therapy lamps feature 10,000lx.
The higher the light intensity, the less time you need to spend in front of it. At the same time, certain studies proved that sitting for long periods at a lower light intensity is the same as sitting shorter periods at a higher intensity.
For example, sitting half an hour exposed to 10,000lx is the same as sitting one hour exposed to 5,000lx.
In both cases, it is important to sit with your eyes open, at a distance of half-meter from the lamp. The distance depends on the intensity of the lamp and, in most cases, is determined by the manufacturer. As far as the best time to use a light therapy lamp concerns, there is no conclusive evidence. However, some speculate that early morning is the best time of the day for light therapy.
You can work on your laptop, watch TV, knit, read a book, or any other activity as long as the light falls on your face, and you are at the right distance.
#8 Size Matters
Light therapy lamps come in various sizes. It is important to choose one that is big enough to provide good exposure to your eyes. To that end, you need to make sure the size of the surface area that emits the light is big enough to provide the right amount of light.
Many people think that SAD therapy works by penetrating the skin. However, that’s faulty logic as the light must enter the eye retina instead. The eye’s retinas are connected and fed the brain. Subsequently, the melatonin is depleted, which makes people sleepy, lethargic, and moody. While melatonin is depleted, serotonin is increased. Unlike melatonin, serotonin contributes to a state of well-being and happiness.
Furthermore, you need to take into consideration the overall size of the lamp, not just the surface area. This is important because of the place where it will be situated and if there is enough space. Thing is some lamps are more compact than others. Also, some are easily fitted into a suitcase or a travel bag.
#7 Built-in Timer
This feature has nothing to do with the performance of the light therapy box, but with your sense of time. If you intend to spend as much time as prescribed by your physician, then buying one with a built-in timer is probably the best. That way, you won’t have to worry whether you spent too little or too much time in front of your light therapy lamp. But then again, there isn’t such a thing as too much time spent in front of the light therapy lamp. There are no side effects at all.
Usually, those with a built-in timer come with a clock as well. That way, your light therapy lamp can double as a clock.
#6 Consider Your Decor
Appearance is a big factor for many people. Luckily, there is a wide selection of light therapy lamps in all styles and sizes. Sometimes, you need to be persistent in your pursuit of finding the one that matches your decor. But even you buy one that doesn’t match your style or decor, it doesn’t mean you need to keep it at eyesight all the time. Most of them are quite portable and can be stored or moved to another spot after usage.
#5 Customization Settings
Some light therapy lamps come with settings that allow you to customize the light intensity. This is also not an essential feature as you can control that by moving closer or further from the lamp.
But then again, if you are not the type of person that wants to change positions, this can be quite a handy feature. If that’s the case, look for models that allow you to select from at least three intensities. Typically, you get to choose between 2,500lx, 8,000lx, and 10,000lx. That gives you a great deal of control over your sessions.
#4 Check if the MHRA approves it
MHRA stands for Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. It is a government-run agency that checks whether medical products are safe to use and do the job they supposed to do. If the MHRA has approved the lamp, then that will be stated in its box. Additionally, you may check that information on MHRA’s website.
#3 Check for Independently Verified Lux Rating
According to SADA, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, before you buy a light therapy lamp, you need to look for proof that their lux rating has been independently verified. That way, you can ensure that you buy exactly what you’ve asked for – a light therapy lamp featuring the exact intensity as it supposed to have.
#2 The Significance of the “Full Spectrum”
Many manufacturers advertise their light therapy lamps as the “full-spectrum”. Full-spectrum brings a ton of health benefits and feels more natural. There are scientific studies that prove it is the closest color of light to the sunlight. But that’s it. In terms of bright light therapy, it doesn’t bring anything to the table.
So yes, it is a healthier option, but it won’t make any difference in your light therapy. For the sake of arguments, it also needs to be mentioned that it won’t have any opposite effect if your new light therapy lamp offers a full spectrum.
It is a personal choice whether you choose one that covers the full spectrum or not.
#1 Consult with Your Doctor
Doctors are aware of how light therapy works and the benefits that come from it. Before you buy a light therapy lamp and start using it, make sure that you keep your doctor in the loop. Here’s when that matters most.
First of all, if in addition to your seasonal affective disorder, you have a bipolar disorder as well. Using the light therapy box over a prolonged period can cause manic symptoms. A doctor that is aware of your condition can advise you on how to make use of your light therapy lamp without igniting any manic symptoms.
Using a light therapy lamp can also be an issue if you suffered from cataracts, glaucoma, or have eye damage caused by diabetes. An eye doctor can let you know to what extent you can use a light therapy lamp or if you can use one at all.
Last but not least, if you still can’t make your mind for a particular product, check user reviews, and what people have to say about it. You can’t go wrong with that type of feedback. Other than that, follow the recommendations and suggestions explained here. That is the easiest and fastest way to choose the best light therapy lamp.