SAD lamps could make you happier. Here are our favorites.
Seasonal affective disorder can sap your joy. The winter is long; it’s worth fighting back.
Roughly 5 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During sun-starved winter months, you may have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and experience other symptoms often associated with depression. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes SAD, but some believe the lack of available sunlight during the winter triggers hormonal changes that in some people lead to seasonal blues.
In recent years, people have been using special UV-filtered LED bulbs to offset the winter sadness. These so-called happy lamps (or, funnily enough, SAD lamps) mimic the sun’s rays and have been proven to help boost the mood of some people with seasonal affective disorder. For best results (and to avoid damaging your cornea) sit 1 to 2 feet away from the lamp for about 15 minutes each day. Wondering what makes a SAD lamp good? For starters, look for one that delivers around 10,000 Lux (lumen intensity) from 1 foot away. Here are a few options to get you started.
This lamp is about the size of a tablet, so it’s perfectly portable and a great addition to a windowless office. You can customize the warmth, duration, and brightness of the light depending on how you’re feeling that day. The light is equipped with three intensity settings, 2,000 Lux, 10,000 Lux, and 12,000 Lux, and has a built-in timer that can be set for 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes, after which the lamp will automatically shut off.
This SAD lamp in disguise produces 10,000 Lux of soft, natural light that’s great not only for seasonal mood disorders, but also for people who are sensitive to harsh luminescence. It can stay up all year round without looking out of place, so don’t worry about storage. Because of its size and height (it’s about 4 feet tall), the Flamingo floor lamp can shine on a few people at a time. Go ahead and get your group hygge on, just remember that the further you sit from the lamp, the weaker its Lux.
The surface area on this lamp is what sets it apart from other desk models. It measures 21 inches tall and 16 inches wide and features two modes: task lighting, which lights up two of the three fluorescent bulbs, and therapy light, which illuminates all three bulbs. The adjustable legs and tilt stand makes it easy to target the beam so you don’t miss out on any of those mock-rays. It also has a 5-year warranty, just in case.