As the colder weather sets in and the sun makes less of a daily appearance, it’s easy to find yourself feeling a little down. The holidays are, of course, on the horizon, but there’s something about leaving the summer behind that just makes most people feel less like smiling. It turns out, if the disappearance of sunny summer makes you feel particularly down, you’re not alone.
A condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) could be the root cause of your seasonal mood shifts.
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a condition that affects approximate 10 million Americans. It typically takes root in late fall and is characterized by a number of common symptoms: A general feeling of depression, loss of interest in hobbies, low energy levels and problems sleeping are just a few. Fortunately, because SAD is a seasonal disorder, spring normally alleviates such symptoms.
The condition is most likely caused by changes in your body, such as changes to your biological clock (or circadian rhythm) and changes to your body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin. These bodily changes are directly related to sunlight exposure, so it’s possible to substitute natural sunlight to alleviate some of the SAD symptoms.
How to Treat SAD
One way to decrease the impact SAD has on your life is to book yourself a ticket south and get closer to the equator where the sun stays pretty consistent throughout the year. However, if this isn’t really practical, we suggest getting yourself a purpose-made SAD lamp for your home.
These advanced lamps are built to mimic natural sunlight and deliver the light you’re missing in therapeutic sessions to improve your mood, reset your circadian rhythm and improve your sleep schedule. In addition to being an effective treatment for SAD, natural light lamps can also help with jet lag and other sleep disorders.
Below you’ll find 21 different SAD lamp options. Each model is well-reviewed and capable of giving you an extra burst of sunlight to bring you back to life. There are lamps for home use as well as options for people who travel a lot, too.
1. Verilux HappyLight
The Verilux HappyLight puts you in control of your daily light therapy. This device is highly practical and highly portable. It offers two different levels of light intensity, reaching a maximum of 10,000 LUX to give you a boost of natural-like light even when the sun’s not shining. What’s more, it does it all without the worry of harmful UV rays, either. The device comes with two interchangeable lenses which allow you to control glare and help reduce eye strain and fatigue.
2. Sunrise Sensations – BrightBox Light Therapy Lamp Full Spectrum
Add instant style and therapy light to any room with this swanky natural wood light box from Sunrise Sensations. The device features a whopping 10,000 LUX, full-spectrum UV-free light and various color warmth and brightness settings, all of which can be controlled by remote. That means you can set it from the comfort of your own couch or bed and reap the benefits of the faux sunlight while living in downright style.
Sunrise Sensations - BrightBox Light Therapy Lamp Full Spectrum
3. Brightech Light Therapy Lamp
Although it may be on the cheaper side of things, the Brightech Light Therapy Lamp has a lot to offer. It emits 10,000 LUX to imitate natural sunshine. As previously mentioned, this can be used in small doses to improve your mood when sunlight is at a premium. In addition, the bulb emits 22.5 watts, so it’s bright enough to illuminate your tasks at hand or to sit on your bedside table for your morning dose of sunshine. The compact light also boasts a built-in dimmer as well as a USB port for charging your phone or other devices. As an added bonus, the USB port can even be used when the light is off.
Brightech Light Therapy Lamp
4. Hatch Restore Smart Light Alarm Clock
BEST SUNRISE SIMULATOR
Some of these SAD lamps get the job done with waking you up, but they do so with a light that can be harsh to groggy eyes and sleepy minds. Instead, invest in a sunrise simulator like Hatch Restore, which will enhance your sleep health like never before. Gently waking you up with its soft, peach light, this semi-circle light also houses a library of soothing sounds and white noise. Ease into the day and make your wake-up process more pleasant with Hatch.
Hatch Restore Smart Light Alarm Clock
5. AMZCOOL Happy Energy 10,000 LUX Lamp
Sporting a compact, A5-size design, the AMZCOOL Happy Energy 10,000 LUX Lamp is ideal for users looking for a lamp desk that takes up minimal space. It also produces UV-free light at a temperature of 5,500K and at a maximum brightness of 10,000 LUX. Plus, you’ll find a dimmer switch which lets you choose the exact level of light that’s right for you. Finally, this light includes a handy stand for mounting the lamp in either upright or horizontal orientations and is an ideal answer to rainy day blues.
AMZCOOL Happy Energy 10,000 Lux Lamp
6. Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp
BEST UNIVERSAL DESIGN
If you want to reap the benefits of light therapy from the comfort of any room in your home, this sleek but effective model from Circadian Optics offers tons of potential. The affordable light is UV-free and comes with the standard 10,000 LUX of brightness, but its simplistic shape and narrow base also mean that it works with a variety of decors and designs. Meanwhile, the LED light lasts roughly 50,000 hours, which means you can basically set it up and forget about it while you soak in all of those sweet rays.
Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp
7. Theralite Radiance Light Therapy Lamp
MOST HIGH TECH
This therapy lamp really does do it all and doesn’t take up much room on whatever surface you choose. Along with being a full spectrum SAD lamp, it includes an alarm clock, a USB port, and a wireless charging station that doubles as the sleek base of this lamp. Additionally, users like that the light is bright but still warm and “not garish.” Along with giving you a daily mood boost, this product takes up minimal space and has too many functions to turn down.
Theralite Radiance Light Therapy Lamp
8. PureGuardians Customizable Blue or White Light Therapy
Trapped in your office or a windowless room? This light therapy product by PureGuardians can be tweaked and personalized to your heart’s desire. Its UV-free light has features that let you customize the duration, intensity, and whether you’d like a white or blue tint. This model was built to last long, so you can forget about replacing bulbs. One customer says that it replaced their father’s old therapy light, and was “a lot better on the electric bill.”
PureGuardians Customizable Blue or White Light Therapy
9. Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0
If your number one need from your SAD lamp is portability, the Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 should be at the top of your list. The boldly unique design tailors to your needs and provides daily light without being bulky or taking up too much space in your luggage. It includes a built-in stand which features three hinges, meaning it can be adjusted with ease. You can also choose between three levels of light, working up to a maximum of 10,000 LUX.
Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0
10. Wobrikosee Light Therapy Lamp
You might not be able to control what time the sun rises and sets, but you can certainly control your light therapy box’s settings thanks to the built-in timer on this device. The lamp comes with four timers (15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes) so that you can easily keep track of how long you’re soaking up those UV-free rays. Plus, the smooth dimming function and dual lighting modes also allow you to choose the most effective light therapy session for your individual needs.
Wobrikosee Light Therapy Lamp
11. Carex Health Brands Bright Light Therapy Lamp
By increasing the size of the face, the Carex Health Brands Bright Light Therapy Lamp gives a more realistic sun-like experience for users. The articulating head helps you receive maximum exposure to your dose of UV-free light, and you’ll also find a glare-free diffuser for more comfort as the diffuser prevents strain on your eyes. This light is a great choice for users looking for an at-home or in-office light substitute, and users can choose between two settings with the maximum intensity reaching 10,000 LUX.
Carex Health Brands Bright Light Therapy Lamp
12. Aura Day Light Lamp
Like many of the other lamps on our list, the Aura Day Light Lamp features up to 10,000 LUX of natural light to help improve your mood and your circadian rhythms. What it does better than the other lamps in our article is that it offers a patented adjusting dial that allows you to change the lamp from 3,500 LUX all the way up to 10,000 LUX. At the lowest setting, the lamp may help your body produce melatonin and generally prepare you for sleep, while the highest setting provides serotonin to boost your energy levels. Furthermore, the lamp can also adjust to an angle between 90 and 70 degrees, or it can be easily wall mounted.
Aura® Day Light Lamp
13. Philips Somneo Connected Sleep and Wakeup Light Therapy Lamp
In addition to being a lamp, the Philips Smart Sleep Light Therapy Lamp is also an alarm clock, FM radio and a high-quality speaker, too. This all-in-one device is ideal for your bedside table and has been clinically proven to improve the user’s energy, sleep quality and general well-being. It’s easy to choose the right brightness level, and the lamp also includes functions to help you sleep easier and wake up to natural light exposure even when it’s dark or rainy outside. In addition, this light sports a USB charging port and an AUX dock for attaching devices to enjoy your own music using the built-in speaker. In addition, the lamp comes with a 90-day, no-hassle, money-back guarantee, so if it’s not for you, it’s no problem.
Philips Somneo Connected Sleep and Wakeup Light Therapy Lamp
14. Lavish Home Sunlight Floor Lamp
BEST FLOOR LAMP
Grab a full spectrum of daytime sun with this adjustable floor lamp, which omits a clear and energizing light on just a 27-watt CFL bulb. It comes with a weighted base for extra sturdiness and in a variety of colors to suit your own personal tastes. But the best part is the adjustable gooseneck, which allows you to properly position the piece for optimal light distribution.
Lavish Home Sunlight Floor Lamp
15. Alaska Northern Lights Northstar Therapy Lamp
From a SAD perspective, winter in Alaska can be brutal. In fact, the northernmost town in the state doesn’t see the sun for 67 days in winter. Anchorage and nearby Homer have it slightly easier with just over five hours of sunlight on the shortest day of the year. But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. The Alaska Northern Lights company out of Homer, Alaska makes some of the most powerful SAD lamps available, including this Northstar Therapy Lamp. It boasts 10,000 LUX up to 24 inches away from the lamp. It also features a 25,000-hertz electronic ballast for minimal flicker or hum. And, it can be used both horizontally and vertically for your convenience. For a heavy-duty solution to your seasonal affective disorder, you can’t do better than this therapy lamp.
Alaska Northern Lights Northstar Therapy Lamp
16. Sunrise Sensations BrightBox Light Therapy Lamp
BEST REMOTE CONTROLLED PICK
Along with coming in a stylish solid wood frame, this therapy light by BrightBox has an attractive and non-clinical aesthetic, and function that stands up well to other competitors on the market. It even has a remote control, so you can adjust it or turn it on and off from afar. On this remote, switch up the warmth and brightness, which can be adjusted from 5k LUX to over 10k units. Unlike other choices available online, this model is not undersized.
Sunrise Sensations BrightBox Light Therapy Lamp
17. Northern Light Luxor Therapy 18” Desk Lamp
BEST PYRAMID PICK
Most SAD lamps on the market are square-shaped or rectangular, but this Luxor Therapy alternative has a more modern appearance that will fit in with an equally modern home. It comes with a fluorescent bulb and has a rocker-style switch. As noted by reviewers, the only downside about this model is that it doesn’t come with an instruction booklet for set-up, so users are left to Google their own research if they can’t figure it out.
Northern Light Luxor Therapy 18” Desk Lamp
18. Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp
BEST DESK LAMP
When you’re working at a desk, you need a lamp that comes with an adjustable height and angle, two features that are present on this light therapy lamp to be sure. Like most others, Theralite’s lamp features the coveted 10,000 LUX and UV-free light. But it’s also glare-free, which is an added bonus when you consider laptop screens and other work essentials. It’s also lightweight (under four pounds) so you can easily move it around, and it comes with four light settings so that it’s customizable to your individual needs.
Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp
19. Verilux Smartlight Full Spectrum LED Desk Lamp
Many therapy lights can be placed on a desk, but this one is the most appropriate since it features a flexible gooseneck that’s ideal for reading or writing. With an integrated USB charging port, this light mimics natural daylight, along with having an Optix lens that controls glare and reduces eye fatigue. If you’re a crafter, artist, or reader, this is a must-buy. However: be aware that the brightness touch buttons are more sensitive than other choices on the market.
Verilux Smarlight Full Spectrum LED Desk Lamp
20. Luminette Drive Car Therapy Lamp
MOST CAR-FRIENDLY PICK
If you frequently drive and live in a region that doesn’t get much sunlight, things can get depressing fast due to Seasonal Affective Disorder. That’s why Luminette thought up this easy-to-use therapy lamp for cars, so drivers can experience a mood boost throughout their day too. A rechargeable better is integrated and this device comes with a dual USB car charger. Use it for your morning commute, or on your way home after a long day.
Luminette Drive Car Therapy Lamp
21. WhitePoplar 9W Full Spectrum Natural Sunlight Bulb
Just because you want to add natural sunlight to your home, doesn’t mean you have to buy an entire lamp. Nowadays, you can buy natural sunlight bulbs to install into your pre-existing light fixtures. These bulbs offer full-spectrum light to chase away the winter blues. They’re also fitted with 95 of 100 CRI LED chips, meaning they provide a better reflection of color in order to place less strain on your eyes and provide a more relaxing environment. The bulbs themselves are 9W, so they can replace incandescent light bulbs of 60 watts. They’re also compatible with dimmable lamps.