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Shopping Guide: Light Therapy Box/Lamp
Winter days aren’t only holiday movies and nestling under piles of blankets with a warm mug of hot cocoa between a pair of cozy mittens. The colder days can bring happy snow days with snowmen and sledding, but they can also bring shorter days and less sunshine.
If you’ve ever felt yourself fighting off the winter blues, you’re not alone. About 10 million Americans can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly named SAD), which can be attributed to shorter days and longer bouts of darkness.
Luckily, there are methods to reversing the adverse mental health effects of the winter season. With SAD, your energy level might be running low, so hearing things like “get outside” or “go to the gym” might require too much energy for how you’re feeling.
This is why light therapy lamps are so incredibly beneficial.
Without having to set aside any extra time or expend any energy, you can revive some of that lost sunlight through a light therapy lamp.
How Does it Work?
You may have seen LED lights that measure their light output in lumens, which is the number of units used to describe the quantity of total light emitted which is visible to the human eye.
A lux, which you’ll see is used in describing light therapy lamps, is a level up from this. Each lux is one lumen per square meter, measuring the amount of area where the light is spread. The higher the lux, the brighter the light in a concentrated area.
To mimic sunlight and its brightness as it covers a surface area, light therapy lamps are measured in lux. A typical hallway light emits about 80 lux, whereas a therapy light generally emits a minimum of 10,000 lux.
That difference in brightness means that users can expect the same light intensity as sunlight but without the hazards of UV light.
Light therapy lights are intended to act as a sunlight supplement when you’re not getting enough of that precious sunlight on those gloomy, snowy afternoons. Just like the sun, it’s best to not look directly at the lamp and place it a short distance away from you.
For each lamp, a recommended therapy session is outlined. If you spend more time working at night, you might prefer a desktop lamp that you can leave on for 15-30 minutes at a time.
Some models, such as the Verilux HappyLight Touch, can be programmed to operate for intervals. Busy workers should love the low maintenance yet healing effect this might have on their late-night office time.
What’s the Difference Between Models?
As you shop for a new therapy light lamp, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration to match up with your needs. To start, you’ll need to set a budget for how much you’ll want to spend on a light.
To get the recommended 10,000 lux that still safely operates by filtering out 100% of UV light, you can find a lamp for a little over $50. However, for more versatile models with settings that you can customize, you should expect to pay around $100.
While it may make a bit of a jump from these prices, our number one pick gives you everything you pay for. The Sphere Gadget Lightphoria lamp sits around the $300 range, but boy howdy, it does not compromise one bit of technology for its users.
By emitting 10,000 lux at only 7.2 watts of energy consumption, you’re investing in an eco-friendly lamp that will save you money in the long run. Add that to its features like adaptability in different countries (if you’re a traveler, make sure that your therapy light has this feature), programmable intensity levels, and adjustable positioning, and you have a lamp that tops the list.
Just Need Some Morning Sun?
Having trouble waking up in the morning? Is your circadian rhythm all out of whack?
Light therapy comes in all shapes and sizes, and as product engineers start embracing this innovative solution to fighting seasonal depression, they’ve started to incorporate it into products that you immediately wake up to.
One such product is the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock, which also falls into our top picks.
Just imagine being able to draw the black-out curtains at night to darken out the city street lights but still have a way to wake up to natural sunlight. If you’re consistently late to work or fall victim to tiredness and fatigue, this is a simple transition into the light therapy world.
Don’t Let Winter Get You Down
You might start to dread winter because of the short days and cold nights, but guess what, it’s sweater weather. Eggnog is to be had, firewood chopped, and Netflix series to be binged.
Compare our top 10 light therapy lamps so you can start loving winter once again. After all, is there a better feeling than wearing fuzzy socks?
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