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7 Light Therapy Lamps That Can Help With Seasonal Affective Disorder


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We’ve all heard of the winter blues. During the coldest season of the year, all those short, gray days can really do a number on our mental state, especially for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that’s related the the change of the seasons. While there is no magic cure for SAD, people who experience its symptoms can greatly benefit from light therapy lamps.

Designed to help improve the changes in mood and behavior that can come with the darker, colder months of the year, light therapy, or phototherapy, is considered to be an effective treatment for anyone struggling with SAD. But how do they work? Let’s break it down. 

What causes seasonal affective disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAD is linked to, “a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.”

As summer turns to fall and days become shorter, the change can affect your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, leading to those off-kilter, and often sad, feelings. For many, SAD presents itself in symptoms such as sadness, loss of interest, lethargy, and restlessness. But with a little light therapy and some mood-boosting supplements, brighter days will soon be on the horizon. 

How do light therapy lamps work?

Light therapy lamps work by emitting a light that mimics the look and feel of natural sunlight. Sitting down in front of one of these lamps for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day first thing in the morning can help to get your day started off right.

The American Psychiatric Association notes that “most people see some improvements from light therapy within one [to] two weeks of beginning treatment.”

Are light therapy lamps safe?

As a whole, light therapy is safe and one of the most recommended treatments for seasonal affective disorder. It’s important to use these lamps under the guide of a physician, however, especially if you have lupus, bipolar disorder, or currently take any medications that can increase your sensitivity to light.

Unlike other indoor light devices, like tanning beds, light therapy lamps use non-UV bulbs (usually at 10,000 LUX for the best results) that are completely safe for you and your body. 

It’s important to make sure light is entering your eyes indirectly, however, as staring at your lamp can cause damage.

The Best Light Therapy Lamps for SAD

If you’re experiencing symptoms of SAD, remember that your first step should be to seek out the help of a trained professional for a proper diagnosis to ensure that there are no other medical conditions contributing to your symptoms. As always, health and happiness are the ultimate goals here.

Ready to get your hands on one of these lamps and help kick seasonal affective disorder to the curb? Keep scrolling for FIRST for Women’s picks for the best light therapy lamps for SAD on the market today. 

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