7 Light Therapy Lamps to Add to Your Winter Wellness Routine, Starting at $39.99
In the immortal words of “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming—and it’s bringing shorter days, colder temperatures, and for many, feelings of sadness, loneliness, and depression.
The winter blues are normal, but if you’re having difficulty waking up, can’t focus on your work or find yourself withdrawing from friends and family, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a researcher and psychiatrist credited with coining the term Seasonal Affective Disorder and with using light therapy as a treatment, says that the condition exists on a spectrum. “It’s a condition that some people have a little … and some people have a lot,” he told Apartment Therapy. “If you have actual SAD, you have a hard time getting up, going to work, socializing. If you have the winter blues, you’re not quite yourself, you’re not as creative or energetic.”
Curious whether you’ve been experiencing SAD, or are simply navigating a gloomy jag? Dr. Rosenthal says to pay attention to your sleep, appetite, and concentration levels come winter, as these are all areas where SAD symptoms tend to arise most frequently. He also noted that SAD is more common in the northern United States and tends to affect women of reproductive age more frequently than anyone else.
Light therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for the condition, and the way it works is actually quite simple. “There are connections between the retina of the eyes and the brain, and through those nerve connections, the brain develops certain chemical reactions and responses that normalizes the effect of the lack of winter. That’s where the light treatment seems to have its effect. The effects can be very marked,” Dr. Rosenthal explains.
Dr. Rosenthal recommends starting light therapy right away in the morning; “dawn simulator” lights that gradually brighten the room, similar to the sunrise, are a great way to ease your body into the process. Then, spend 20 to 30 minutes in front of your light therapy fixture of choice (you’re allowed to multitask while you do it), and be sure to get light throughout the day, go outside even if it’s cloudy, and make your space as well-lit as possible.
I rounded up plenty of stylish and functional lamps to add to your winter wellness routine. No matter what kind of lamps they are, look for one with white light, UV protection and 10,000 lux of light, the recommended level suggested by many experts. (Note: Neither Dr. Rosenthal nor his work are affiliated with any of these products.) From budget-friendly favorites to more statement-making options you’ll want to keep on your desk, you’ll want to keep the light on all season long.
Best affordable pick:
The Verilux HappyLight Lucent lamp is easily portable and similar in shape to a tablet, making it a great option for use at your desk, in bed or for travel. The lamp can be used horizontally or vertically and delivers 10,000 lux intensity of bright white LED light. It’s one of the most popular lamps due to its accessible price point, ease of use, and handy size.
Just looking at this circular cutie makes me feel happier. The TaoTronics light features everything from customizable brightness to a memory function so you can easily adjust its settings to your liking and go back to them at your next “sunbathing” session. Other bonuses? The TaoTronic is UV-free, energy-efficient and powered by touch control.
Give your phone’s alarm clock feature a break. The SmartSleep light doesn’t just include light therapy; it also comes loaded with white noise, guided meditations, a radio and a USB phone charger! Its coolest feature, however, is the customizable “sunrise and sunset” light setting that mimics the natural patterns of the outdoors and will make you feel as though you’re waking up with the sunrise—even in the darkest weeks of winter.
Most Stylish Option
If you favor Scandinavian-inspired design in your home décor, look no further than the Sunrise Sensations DayBright lamp, which is not only stylish, but eco-friendly as well. Its chic blonde wood accents are sourced from 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests. The light itself is fully adjustable and features bright white light, plus a remote control.
Most Convenient Size
This little guy was created in Minneapolis, Minnesota—where they know a thing or two about winter— and has also been featured on “Shark Tank.” It’s teeny, but packs a big punch with its flexibility, 10,000 lux brightness, and simple settings. If you’re curious about light therapy and want to start small, the Lumos 2.0 may be your best bet; it’s budget-friendly, stylish, and easy to stash away when you aren’t using it.
Best Classic Option
Think of this one as the science geek of the bunch. The lamp, which comes with a stand for easy, hands-free use, has been designed according to expert recommendations, and delivers 10,000 lux of white light from 12” to 14” distance. It’s downward-facing, which is also recommended by experts for best results, and you can change its settings to use it as a desk lamp.
Best Floor Lamp
Looking for a full-length option? The Flamingo floor lamp may be the perfect fit for you. It’s four feet tall with a rotating head so you can move the light to suit your needs, and it can easily be used in any room of your house. Curl up in your favorite chair with a book and let the power of light wash over you!