Review: The Best Light Therapy Lamp for SAD
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Did you know humans spend 90% of their time indoors? And in the COVID era, that number has only grown. Recently released data from the American Time Use Survey found that Americans went from spending less than eight hours per day at home in 2019 to over 10 hours in 2020.
While spending this amount of time is for the best, it’s not conducive to a healthy life. When we spend so much time indoors, we miss out on the many health benefits of sunlight. Sunlight is vital for many reasons, including:
- It helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle
- It boosts our bodies production of critical hormones such as melatonin and serotonin
- It helps injuries heal
- It increases our energy levels
- It helps boost our mental wellbeing
A key question we’re forced to ask ourselves is how do we make up for the lack of sunlight? Our daily lives are centered around being inside, making this a difficult question. One solution is bright light therapy, a holistic approach to health.
What is light therapy?
Light therapy involves using a specialized lamp designed to mimic sunlight. Bright light therapy lamps trick our bodies into producing serotonin and melatonin. These two hormones regulate our sleep-wake cycle, appetite, memory, and energy levels. Therapy lamps help alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, depression, sleep disorders, jet lag, and more.
How to Use a Light Therapy Lamp
Using a therapy lamp is quite simple, making it very convenient to replenishing lost sunlight. Users sit in front of the light for 20-30 minutes each morning, as the sun is rising. When treating conditions such as seasonal affective disorder, it’s best to start in the early fall when cloudy days become regular.
What to Look for in a Therapy Lamp
As therapy lamps have grown in popularity, knowing what to look for has grown exceedingly important, especially if you’re treating a severe case of seasonal depression. Most therapy lamps on the market are considered to be wellness-grade. These types of therapy lamps are more petite, produce light from a downward angle, and have to be used longer than 20-30 minutes to see benefits.
On the other hand, clinical-grade lamps are more prominent, produce light from an upward angle, and produce the recommended 10,000 LUX from a 12” sitting distance. These lamps are much more ideal for those treating seasonal affective disorder. They make more light and direct it towards the eyes from an upward angle. This better mimics sunlight to trick our bodies into producing melatonin and serotonin.
A key area to look at before selecting a therapy lamp is safety. Does it block out ultra-violet rays? This is vital given UV rays can be damaging to the eyes and skin. An adequately built light will have a built-in UV filter.
Therapy lamps typically emit either blue or full-spectrum light. Blue spectrum light is more effective. However, it can be more dangerous. Full-spectrum, while less effective, is much safer and can produce the same results.
What Makes the Day-Light Classic Plus the Best Light Box Therapy Lamp
Suppose you’re treating a severe case of seasonal affective disorder or a sleep disorder. In that case, we highly recommend the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus light therapy lamp. It’s by far one of the more oversized lamps available and the most effective. Not only that but it’s been around for a while and is trusted by healthcare professionals and researchers. Below, you’ll find the top features of this lamp that make it one of the best bright light therapy lamps.
It features a large screen for effective 10,000 LUX treatment
It features a broad 16” x 13” screen to produce the recommended 10,000 LUX from a 12” to 14” sitting distance. This allows the user to sit from a comfortable distance and benefit from a 20-30 minute session.
It’s Height/Angle Adjustable and Shines Light from an Upward Position
Another selling point of the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus lamp is its height and angle adjustable head. Positioning is vital with light therapy. The lamp needs to be centered and angled downward to shine light into the top of your eyes. The design of the Day-Light Classic Plus allows it to do just that. Its tall stature allows light to shine downwards into the top of the user’s eyes.
It Doubles as a Therapy and Task Lamp
Not only is this SAD lamp effective, but it’s also universal. The light features two settings: therapy and task most. Therapy mode produces 10,000 LUX for light treatment sessions, while task mode turns down the intensity to 5,000 LUX for use as a task lamp. This universal design is excellent for those who want to use light therapy but also need a well-lit environment throughout the day.
It Produces Calming and Comforting Full-Spectrum Light
The Day-Light Classic Plus is also beneficial in the color and type of light it produces. The lamp shines full-spectrum light therapy, which uses a variety of colors in the light spectrum. This is beneficial as full-spectrum is effective and much safer than blue light (another type of light some lamps use). The light produces a warm 4000 K color temperature which is known for having a calming effect. It uses energy and long-lasting LED bulbs, which gives it a longer lifespan.
It Filters Out UV Rays
Safety also comes first with this lamp. It has a UV diffusing filter which blocks out 99.3% of ultraviolet rays produced by the bulbs. This is important as UV can damage your skin and eyes. Sitting in front of a therapy lamp without this protective feature can be damaging to your health.
It Comes with a Five-Year Warranty
Not only is this lamp effective, but the company behind it is excellent as well. The Day-Light Classic Plus comes with a five-year limited warranty. The warranty covers manufacturing and workmanship defects. If you get a defective lamp, the company will replace it no questions asked.
Cons of the Day-Light Classic Plus
There are a few cons we should take note of with the Day-Light Classic Plus. For one, it’s size. The larger size may not be ideal for those with a confined space. The bulky size tends to take up a large amount of space. The large size also makes it much heavier, which can be challenging to move.
The design of this lamp is also a tad outdated, and some might say, unappealing. Its silver color is not typical compared to standard white lights. If you’re looking for a more stylish lamp, this one may not be your top pick.
This lamp is also much more expensive compared to standard therapy lamps. With a price in the early $100 range, this certainly is an investment. But if you struggle with a more severe case, it might be worth the price tag.
Overall, the Day-Light Classic Plus is exceptionally effective at what it was designed to do, treating severe cases of seasonal affective disorder, sleep disorders, and more. Its large size allows it to pack a punch and effectively mimic sunlight. If you suffer from a severe case, this lamp might be the best pick.