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. Christmas and Thanksgiving are, of course, on the horizon, but there’s something about leaving the summer behind which 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 usually occurs for many around 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. Luckily, 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. CubeTec 10,000 XLUHealth Light
If you want your lamp to add style to your room as well as natural-like light, the CubeTec 10,000 LUX Health Light could be the right choice for you. This attractive, disc-shaped light is mounted on a wooden stand and looks like a piece of modern art, making it ideal for display on tabletops and other shelves around the house. It’s capable of producing up to 10,000 LUX of light at a color temperature of 6,500K, which is just like normal sunlight. Together, these factors make this light an ideal substitute during the winter or on sad, rainy days.
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.
4. 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.
5. VIPEX Light Therapy Lamp
BEST BUDGET PICK
For under $30, you can’t beat this deal, which checks off all of our SAD light requirements. The ultra-thin model has a 10,000 lux intensity and multiple brightness levels, along with a built-in timer. There stand is also rotatable, letting you choose the best light angle possible. The light output is impressive, with one buyer saying, “I loved how bright it can get, although I have only been using it on the lowest light setting.”
6. 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.
7. 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.”
8. 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.
9. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp
As over 90 percent of Amazon users have awarded the Miroco Light Therapy Lamp high marks, you can rest easy that you’re probably going to love it, too. It offers three levels of LED-produced light, which is UV-free and has a color temperature of 6,500K. The smart and user-friendly design also makes tailoring your light therapy sessions super simple using the 10-60 minute session timer. In addition, the device’s rugged build quality and portable size mean it’s easy to take with you to the office or while traveling.
10. 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.
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.
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.
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.
14. Flamingo 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Floor Lamp
BEST FLOOR LAMP
The Flamingo 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Floor Lamp has three main advantages over the competition. First, unlike every other lamp on our list, this is a floor lamp. It stands four feet tall and features a rotating head, which may make it easier to use in your living room or around the house in general. Second, the screen size is exceptionally large. This means you can enjoy the full 10,000 LUX even if you’re sitting up to a foot away from the lamp. And, third, the electronically powered ballast is more reliable and quieter than others. You’ll notice this lamp rarely flickers and doesn’t hum thanks to this addition. All in all, this Flamingo device is a great choice for at-home users.
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.
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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Verilux Smartlight Full Spectrum LED Desk Lamp
BEST DESK LIGHT
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.
20. 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.
Also Consider: Light Therapy Glasses
Perfect for frequent travelers or those who can’t afford any desk space, these light therapy glasses are a creative solution to Seasonal Affective Disorder. They keep your eyes happy by emitting a blue-enriched white light that comes with three intensities and can be charged via a micro-USB cable. Over 100 Amazon reviewers have kind words about these light therapy glasses, which have boosted their energy and mood. One says it’s helped her wake up more easily, and start her day with more energy.