Can These SAD Lamps & Wake-Up Lights Beat The Winter Blues? We Found Out

Sometimes, knowing a dark and gloomy winter is coming can be more depressing than the season itself. If you're someone with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you may already be brainstorming ways to combat the winter blues. One common (and science-backed) method for easing the symptoms of SAD is light therapy, which can involve sitting or working in front of a lamp that mimics natural light, or swapping your smartphone alarm for a wake-up light.
Not any old light will do, however. According to the Centre for Environmental Therapeutics (CET), there are important criteria that you should keep in mind when purchasing a SAD light or alarm lamp
especially considering that the NHS doesn't provide or regulate SAD lights (it does recommend light therapy but notes that it is up to the individual to choose a fully certified manufacturer and product). As Mind explains: "The NHS doesn’t usually provide light therapy because there isn't yet much evidence to show it works, although some people find it helpful."
The CET states that your chosen light should provide 10,000 lux (the measurement used for light intensity) at a comfortable sitting distance of 16 to 24 inches away from your face. It should be white, not coloured, because blue light doesn't have therapeutic benefits. If the lamp uses fluorescent bulbs, it should also have a screen over it to filter out harmful UV rays. And in order to reduce glare, aim the light to shine over your eyes — not directly into them.
If you want to try a SAD lamp or alarm light, it's best to check first with your doctor who can advise whether it's a suitable treatment. Likewise, if you have any problems with your eyes, talk it through beforehand with your optician.
That just leaves the small task of choosing the best SAD or light therapy lamp for you. To help, we tested out the very best models on the market, from the industry's top brands. Read on for our honest reviews after a month of using our lamps.
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