The Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp AKA SAD Lamp: Does It Really Work?
For most of my life I’ve spent my time in Florida (with plenty of vacation time in Thailand over the years). I’ve always lived in a pretty tropical environment where winter literally didn’t exist. The only weather related scare I worried about from time to time was the occasional hurricane.
This year was my first year living in New York City.
I bought plenty of jackets, warm fleece sweaters, mittens, and even a fancy pair of snow boots.
I fully expected feet of snow and the occasional day where the wind chill alone would make me feel like a human icicle just trying to trek to the subway.
Even though I prepared for colder conditions I didn’t even remotely think of the struggles associated with the infamous: SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER.
By late December and mid January I started feeling pretty blah.
My sleep cycle was completely out of whack. I could never sleep the whole night through.
I also started to feel super lazy and unmotivated. Getting up and going to work was ultimate torture.
It wasn’t until I was rewatching one of my favorite Broad City episodes that it clicked.
In this particular episode Ilana, who suffers from seasonal affective disorder during the height of NYC winters is struggling.
The episode opens with a hilarious scene of her throwing her face against a seasonal affective disorder lamp so she can feel a little less blue.
It became pretty clear to me that I was definitely feeling some SAD symptoms and maybe checking out different seasonal affective disorder lamps wasn’t such a bad idea after all…
What Are The Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder typically starts for most in the fall months and continues into winter. It is often the cause for feeling completely zapped of energy and perhaps even a bit moody.
Some of the many symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can include:
- Feeling sad for the duration of the day (I definitely felt a bit off and more down than usual)
- Having extremely low energy
- Having difficulty sleeping the entire night through (This was definitely one of the most noticeable symptoms I experienced)
- Experiencing changes in your weight or overall appetite
- Feeling moody or easily irritated
- Having difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
***Naturally if you are having more intense feelings of depression it’s always a safe bet to seek professional help. Seeing a therapist is incredibly important to maintain a healthy mind <3 (After all – in the conclusion of this episode Ilana concludes that a SAD lamp just isn’t enough to help her seasonal depression and she simply needs to up her anti-depressants in the winter – no shame in that at all! ) ***
What Is A Season Affective Disorder Lamp (AKA SAD Lamp)?
A seasonal affective disorder lamp is known to mimic natural outdoor light. Many researchers claim that the specefic light that a SAD lamp emits can cause a chemical change in the brain that can help ease the overall symptoms of seasonal depression.
An effective SAD lamp should:
- emit as little UV light as possible
- produce around 10,000 lux of light
When looking for the perfect SAD lamp be sure to do your research. You want to make sure you find a SAD lamp that is specifically designed to treat symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Lamps that may look similar to SAD lamps may be designed to treat specific skin disorders and can emit UV rays that can damage your eyes.
How Do You Use A Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp?
It is best to use a SAD lamp immediately in the morning after waking.
You will get the optimal benefits if you use it for about 20-30 mins each morning.
It’s also important to keep the SAD lamp about 16- 24 inches away from your face and be sure to not look directly at it.
I really enjoy turning on my sad lamp in the morning as I eat breakfast and apply my make up for the day.
Do SAD Lamps Really Work?
Studies have shown that when used long term, SAD lamps can indeed help alleviate SAD symptoms.
Since I’ve been using mine, I definitely notice that my sleep has improved and I do have more spurts of energy throughout the day that I didn’t previously. I also make sure to eat extra healthy during these winter months and up my vitamin intake as well.
Again if you are suffering from clinical depression or bipolar disorder it is important to consult with a medical professional before exploring light therapy. Light therapy can have adverse effects on medication and can aggravate these specific conditions.
Which SAD Lamp Is Best?
- It has a simple + modern design which will fit nicely in any home
- It is specifically designed to treat SAD symptoms
- It had a light intensity of 10,000 lux in a pure white color
- It has 3 different brightness settings
- 99.9 percent of UV rays are filtered out to protect your eyes
- The bulbs are built to last 50,000 hours (no need to worry about replacing those bulbs!)
- It’s only $54.99 on Amazon
I hope this guide was helpful! Extra self care is definitely needed during these brutal winter months!