Science Shows SAD Lamps Actually Work

It may seem like too simple a fix to be true, but scientists have discovered that SAD lamps really do work.

Light lamp therapy is one of several ways to treat seasonal affective disorder in people who must remain housebound or indoors for both work- and COVID-19-related reasons.

According to Boston University, 10 million Americans are affected by low moods during the winter months, when the sun sets at 5:30 p.m. or earlier throughout much of the continental U.S.

Studies show that therapy lamps are an effective treatment for SAD—and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, that blue-light usage after dark through LED screens can cause depression.

The presence of sunlight during the day helps to produce melatonin at night. A therapy lamp must deliver 5,000 to 10,000 lux, compared to the 800/900 lux provided by an early evening sky, or the 100/400 offered from indoor lighting.

If used too early in the day, one may become exhausted prior to usual bedtime; using the lamp too late in the day may cause insomnia. Despite this, therapy lamps are a viable option for treating SAD. These devices can cost as little as $30.

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