5 Awesome Benefits of Light Therapy Lamps & Can They Help Depression?

By Krista

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Last Updated: December 31, 2021

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you might have noticed it slowly getting darker and darker earlier and earlier over the last few months. Unfortunately, winter days don’t exactly offer a ton of opportunity to reap the advantageous effects of natural sunlight (not to mention the cold isn’t exactly enticing either). 

As a result, many people find their mental health tanks and they quickly become vitamin D deficient. While the good news is that sunlight is making a comeback and the days are getting longer once again, you might still find yourself needing a little something to fill that gap. A vitamin D lamp, or seasonal affective disorder lamp, can help you reduce those winter blues!

In this article, we’ll examine this topic a little further. What are light therapy lamps? Does light therapy for depression actually work? How else can these lamps help? Here are 5 benefits of seasonal depression lamps!

 

1. Improved Energy & Better Sleep

Doctor Andrew Weil states, “Shorter daylight hours can affect sleep, productivity, and state of mind. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, may help. It uses light boxes emitting full-spectrum light to simulate sunlight.”

Research indicates how the rate of production of serotonin is directly linked to exposure to direct sunlight. Serotonin is associated with improved mood, sleep regulation, and enhanced energy. A lot of individuals actually feel super drained and down in the winter due to the lack of this vital hormone.

Yet, regular use of a seasonal depression lamp can help you and your body overcome these pitfalls. Even just 20 minutes of light therapy can help make improvements in relation to your energy and sleep!

2. Improved Mood

Similar to how vitamin D lamps help improve energy and sleep, they also boost your mood. This is particularly useful for those that experience seasonal depression. 

So, how does this work? As you might have already guessed, serotonin plays a part. Serotonin is known for regulating mood, with low levels being linked to depression and anxiety. When exposed to light, your body amps up serotonin production, helping you feel a bit happier. 

As previously mentioned, light therapy also contributes to better sleep. This can also significantly enhance your mood. 

Related Article: 4 Signs of Depression You May Not Recognize

3. Better Bone Health

Most of the vitamin D by the body via the use of sunlight. Without sunlight, in the winter months, many individuals face deficiencies, which can contribute to a variety of health issues. 

One of the main functions that vitamin D has in the body is helping the body absorb phosphorus and calcium. These two minerals are essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. While vitamin D supplementation can help, light therapy helps your body naturally make this vitamin, as it usually would, ensuring your bones stay in tip-top shape.

4. Enhanced Cognitive Function

Research has shown seasonal affective disorder lamps to help improve cognition, including concentration, focus, and memory. It’s thought to do this by increasing blood flow to the brain, enhancing energy production, providing neuroprotective effects, and reducing inflammation. 

There’s even evidence showing how light therapy can help potentially prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In other words, you aren’t just giving your health a boost now, but also providing your future self some health protection down the road.

5. Decreased Stress

Surprisingly, some stress is actually good on the body. Yet, we live in a very stressful world. Most people don’t need more stress added to their life. In fact, most people need help reducing the stress in their life.

If this sounds like you, a seasonal depression lamp might be exactly what you need. It can help decrease stress, as well as reduce inflammation — decreasing stress in the body even further. 

Related Article: Winter Blues? Practical Tips For Beating Winter Sadness

 

How to Start Light Therapy

First up, you’ll want to purchase a vitamin D lamp. Usually, an intensity of about 10 000 lux is preferred, especially for combatting depression. For the best results, use the lamp first thing in the morning. This falls in line with your natural circadian rhythm.  

Ensure the lamp is about 16 to 24 inches away from your face, and expose yourself to it for about 20 to 30 minutes at the same time each day. Make sure, during use, that you don’t look directly at the light as this can impact your vision (as it would looking directly at the sun).

Many people notice improvements within a week or two. Monitor how you feel by tracking your mood and energy levels in a journal. This can help you understand if it's working, as well as provide incentive for further use.

 

Use the Power of Light

With technology, we tend to underestimate the power and benefits of natural sunlight. However, technology also allows us to mimic this when we’re unable to obtain enough sunlight due to the changing of the seasons or our busy and hectic lives.

A seasonal affective disorder lamp can help you overcome that winter hump. In fact, light therapy for depression has become a prominent and well-known treatment method, with many scientific studies backing up its use and effectiveness.

Try it out! Add it to your regular wellness regime. Chances are, you’ll notice a difference. After all, winter doesn’t have to be hard. It can be fun! Find what works for you and get out there in that beautiful winter wonderland, appreciating each season to the fullest.

Read Next: 10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Well-Being Right Now

Photo by Lucas Santos on Unsplash

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5 comments on “5 Awesome Benefits of Light Therapy Lamps & Can They Help Depression?”

  1. Shout out for this article. Have a child who dealt with depression in the winter months in high school. Meds helped but light therapy was a game changer. The next winter we started in early October to get a jump on it before the clocks changed.
    Happy to say she is a successful professional now living in CA with a lot of sun and outside time and no depression! (Northern Light Technologies has several lights at various prices and you can call for help.)

    1. Thanks for the feedback Nancy! It's great to know you have seen light therapy working for someone. Winter months are no joke, so finding ways to improve are so critical. So happy for you and your family!

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