Best SAD Lamp Lightboxes Reviewed
In December and January it’s getting dark at 3.30pm. You’re going to work in the dark and returning home in the dark. It’s rather depressing. The concept of Seasonal Affective Disorder is a reality but there are tools to combat the ‘darkness’. SAD sufferers can buy a light box and use light therapy to help ease the winter blues. With daily use, SAD lamps are proven to lift depression and lighten the most melancholy of moods.
Light is measured in ‘lux’ and these boxes reviewed below illuminate up to around 10,000 lux. To give you a comparison, an internal, well-lit office offers around 500 lux – natural daylight is around 10,000 lux. The SAD lamp can be used in bedrooms, kitchens or offices/studies. They replicate the lux levels synonymous with ‘real’ sunshine which in turn encourages your brain to hold back the melatonin production and increase the much-needed serotonin, a hormone that increases alertness and good mood.
All bar one of these SAD lightboxes are Lumie products, it’s with good reason. Lumie are a UK based company and leaders in the light therapy field. Based in the scientific hotbed of Cambridge, Lumie have been making SAD lamps for over 30 years. Unsurprisingly, Lumie lights are used in the Cambridge University Library to assist the next generation of scientists with their reading!
Points to Remember About SAD Lamp Lightboxes:
- Choose a lightbox with a filter to ensure there are no UV rays that can cause skin or eye damage.
- Be careful if you are taking antibiotics
- They are not available on the NHS, you need to buy a lightbox privately.
- Always read the instructions and guidelines before use.
- Give it a few days, it’s unlikely to work on day 1.
A SAD lamp can really help aid sleep issues caused by a plethora of circumstances from depression to changing shift patterns. A SAD lamp can help regulate your circadian rhythms.
Best SAD Lightboxes for Portability – Option 1
Lumie are a quality brand in this arena and the Vitamin L with its cool white LEDs and 20cm (width) x 28cm (height) dimensions is a good option for someone wanting a Lightbox that’s transportable for use in the bedroom, the dining room, the home or even at the work office. As with any lightbox large or small, it’s recommended you switch it on daily to see a cumulative effect on your SAD symptoms.
Best SAD Lightbox for Portability – Option 2 (heavier)
Similar to the Vitamin L is the Lumie Arabica (also with a 3-year warranty) but slightly taller at 38cm. The Lumie Arabica has 2 x24w ‘cool white’ bulbs, unlike the Vitamin L model which has LED’s instead. However, the Arabica is heavier, twice the weight of the Vitamin L at 1.6kg and will push out 10k lux at 25cm, not 16cm which is the distance required when using the Vitamin L.
Best SAD Lightbox Alarm Clock
Wake up less grumpy! Sticking with the Lumie light specialist brand, this wake up SAD lamp is very configurable. There are red light settings as you fall asleep at night and gradual sunrise (over 30 minutes) replicating white lights for the morning. You can choose to wake up to increasing light or alarm beeps (or both) and you can set the lux intensity. Because it’s made by Lumie, you can rest assured it’s a certified Medical device (cat 1) and comes with a 3-year warranty.
There are other higher spec Bodyclock SAD lamps from Lumie in this range, including the Shine 300 with FM radio or the Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB with DAB radio and 15-90 minutes sunrise settings (the Bodyclock Luxe also has a USB port for charging phones).
Best Bedside SAD Lamp
As an alternative to the Lumie brand, this portable SAD lamp from Beurer boasts 10,000 lux with a travel bag and an adjustable stand, perfect for the bedside table. It’s also an Amazon Choice selection for mood boosting SAD lamps. Beurer advise that you use this at 20cm to 60 cm for maximum effect – that’s about an arms length for visualisation purposes. The TL30 uses an LED meaning the energy used to light up the 20cm x 12cm surface is less than when using a traditional bulb.
The Beurer TL30 also has an adjustable clip style stand so you can manoeuvre this into portrait or landscape orientations. Both Amazon and John Lewis websites offer a 3 year guarantee for this SAD lamp.
Best SAD Lightbox for Value
Sunlight during the winter for £25.99, surely that’s worth it to lift you out of winter misery and gloom? The brand, TKLake is not very well known in the UK, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of positive Amazon reviews. This Light Therapy lamp is designed to be portable and has an adjustable stand for desks and kitchen surfaces. It has 3 different brightness or ‘lux’ settings. The lowest is 1.8w, the medium is 3.5w and the maximum is 7.8w which belts out 32,000 lux. The light comes from LED beads reducing flickering and glare. There’s also free delivery on this product.
Best SAD Light Therapy Lamp for Reading
Another cracker from Lumie, this time it’s a touch-operated desk SAD lamp with 4 light (lux) levels. The desk lamp is a Medical device (2a) that comes with a 3-year guarantee with free delivery. It’s perfect for the study or next to your reading chair, at 55cm tall and 29cm across it won’t take up a lot of room either. The neck is adjustable so you can twist the brightness accordingly. At full whack, this lamp emits 10,000 lux without the diffuser and Lumie recommends you use this at 50cm length for 30 minutes on a daily basis to feel the positive effects. Did you know the Team GB’s Swimming squad use Lumie lights to help them wake up for those gruelling early morning swimming sessions!