Light therapy probably won’t cure seasonal affective disorder, nonseasonal depression or other conditions. But it may ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help you feel better about yourself and life. Light therapy can start to improve symptoms within just a few days.
When you begin light therapy , your first response will show you whether you need to adjust the intensity or duration. Many people respond to light therapy within 3 to 5 days. If you don’t respond to treatment within the first week, you may notice improvement in the second week.
Here are some tips for using light therapy : Get the right light . Your light box should have a 10,000 lux exposure. Avoid staring at the light . Keep the box just off to the side and about a foot away. Take your time. You should absorb light from your lamp for about a half hour a day. Start in the morning.
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Abstract. Seasonal Affective Disorder ( SAD ) is prevalent when vitamin D stores are typically low. Broad-spectrum light therapy includes wavelengths between 280-320 nm which allow the skin to produce vitamin D .
Sun lamps used for SAD filter out most or all ultraviolet (UV) light. Using the wrong type of lamp could damage your eyes and cause other side effects. The type of sun lamps used to treat SAD will not give you a tan or increase your vitamin D levels.
Light therapy cannot be overdone for most people. If you notice any extraordinary results, stop treatment, and contact your physician. For the best results, choose the right device style and LED color, and use it as directed.
Anxiety and depression scores were significantly reduced following the light therapy at T3 in both the high- and low-intensity groups. Conclusions: Light therapy resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression but we did not find any differences between high- v. low-intensity treatment.
The most common side effects of light therapy include: Eyestrain or visual disturbances. Headaches . Agitation or feeling “wired.” Nausea . Sweating.
Start light therapy in the early morning, as soon as possible after awakening (between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.). Response usually starts in a few days, and by two weeks the symptoms should be definitely improving. Most people need to continue light therapy throughout the winter until the springtime.
Don’t look directly at the light box, which will damage your eyes . Although light therapy is generally safe, people with bipolar disorder may become manic after too much light exposure. And people with any kind of retina disease or diabetes are at greater risk for eye damage than others.
Many experts recommend using a SAD lamp first thing in the morning. Your doctor might also recommend that you use it during the day . Keep in mind that more is not always better. Overuse of a SAD lamp can produce insomnia or other side effects.
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These lamps are rated for 5,000 to 10,000 lux (or 10,000 Lumens per square foot), with the majority of lamps favoring 10,000 for good measure. This is roughly equivalent to the intensity of sunlight during the afternoon.
We tried six additional light therapy lamps in 2020. The Carex Day-Light Classic Plus remains our top pick. The compact Verilux HappyLight Luxe is now our budget pick.