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If you live somewhere that gets distinctly darker and colder during the winter, or you work indoors with little natural lighting, you probably know that both those experiences can sap your energy and put a damper on your mood. Some people experience these effects more intensely than others, and that's where light therapy lamps come in.
Whether you're diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or just feeling a lack of energy, these light boxes can actually make a big difference. Light therapy lamps are about 20 times brighter than ordinary indoor lamps, and sitting in front of one for just 15-20 minutes a day can help boost your mental outlook, make you feel more energized, and even help you sleep better. Take note that it's not a cure-all approach, and you should talk to a doctor about other treatments if you're experiencing SAD.
If you want to give it a try, we found the best light therapy lamps available today.
Most light therapy lamps have a 10,000-lux intensity and can be used for 15-20 minute sessions. Lower intensity models may require longer sessions to have the same effect. The general rule of thumb is to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase over time as you get used to the treatment.
Verilux HappyLight Light Therapy Lamp
The Verilux HappyLight is a compact panel light about the size and shape of a tablet. It provides 10,000 lux of natural full-spectrum light to combat symptoms of SAD and can be set to a high or low intensity depending on your preference.
Since it's such a compact shape, you can easily place it on your desk, dresser, shelf, or bathroom counter, or mount it to the wall for elevating illumination anytime, anywhere. It plugs into a standard AC outlet and has a conveniently long 8-foot cord. Plus, you don't need any tools to change the bulbs or lenses.
Miroco Light Therapy Lamp
The Miroco Light Therapy Lamp has a similar design as the HappyLight, but it comes with a more affordable price tag. Delivering up to 10,000 lux of sun-mimicking light without any UV exposure, it's safe for the skin and eyes and provides your daily dose of mood-boosting daylight.
This light box has three brightness levels, which you can select with a touch of your finger. It has a built-in timer as well, allowing you to set it to automatically turn off after anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Plus, the portable design makes it easy to bring with you to work or on a trip.
Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake-Up Light
Looking for a bedside option? You can't go wrong with the Philips SmartSleep. This lamp isn't technically a light therapy lamp, but it does help regulate your body's natural circadian rhythm and give you an energy boost in the morning.
By gradually illuminating your bedroom with the warm tones of soft morning light, it effectively simulates the sunrise to help wake you up. In the evening, it mimics the sunset and gradually dims the light to help you wind down and decompress from your day. Its built-in RelaxBreathe feature can also lead you in a guided breathing exercise to help you relax into your most peaceful slumber.
TaoTronics Light Therapy Lamp
If you're looking for something that won't stick out in your space, you'll love the actually chic circular design of this light therapy lamp by TaoTronics. It simulates the effects of natural daylight with 10,000 lux intensity, and it measures only about seven inches in diameter, so it can easily be placed anywhere in your home or office. Plus, you can customize the brightness between 20-100 percent, so whether you need the full experience or just a little boost, you can get an intensity that is exactly to your liking.
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus
If you're looking for something a bit larger, consider the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus. With a 12-inch square face, this studio-style lamp can illuminate bigger spaces and offer light therapy benefits to more than one person at a time.
The flexible stand makes it easy to adjust the direction of the light, and the glare-free screen provides soft, energizing illumination. Thanks to special LED BrightZone technology, this light box offers 10,000 lux of full-spectrum, UV-filtered white lighting.
Northern Light Technologies Boxelite
With a 12 x 15 inch front panel and a durable metal stand, the Boxelite is a sizable light therapy lamp with reliable construction. Unlike smaller light boxes, the large screen provides maximum output in minimal time. In other words, you don't have to sit super close for an extended period to get the full treatment.
While the price is higher than average, you can count on clinically-tested bright light therapy to ease symptoms of SAD, jet lag, long or irregular work hours, or a less-than-optimal work setting.
Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
The Lumos 2.0 is an effective mood-boosting sun lamp with a sleek and stylish design. It delivers a healthy dose of the UV-free daylight your body craves—with 10,000 lux of bright yet soft illumination, you'll get dot-free, full-spectrum light that simulates the mid-day sun.
This light therapy lamp has an adjustable hinge, allowing you to direct the light toward different areas of your space. Plus, with single-touch operation and three levels of brightness, it's easy to use and personalize to your needs.
Nature Bright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy
Recommended by Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, Nature Bright's SunTouch Plus is an impressive product with a science-backed design. The two-in-one model offers both light therapy and fresh air therapy, thanks to a built-in air purifier.
As for the light component, SkyEffect technology provides 17,000K of uplifting, sunlight-mimicking illumination without any UV rays. Using this light box can make you feel calmer and energized with a more positive outlook.
This compact and lightweight happy lamp measures 9 x 6 x 13 inches and weighs just 1 pound. It can be placed on your kitchen counter, desk, mantle, or nightstand or brought with you for on-the-go light therapy.
Overall, our top choice is the Verilux HappyLight, which combines full spectrum, UV-free light with personalized settings and a compact design for safe and convenient light therapy. For something a bit more budget-friendly with similar features, we recommend the Miroco Light Therapy Lamp, which also features a built-in timer and touch screen capability.