This Simple Home Accessory Will Make You Forget It’s Winter Outside
You don’t need us to tell you how majorly depressing the winter season can be. It’s cold, it’s dry, it’s dark and it’s robbing us of any and all energy and motivation we might have stored inside our bodies. Seasonal affective disorder is no joke. But luckily, there’s a simple device out there that could bring you significant relief (and pretty quickly) from the comfort of your own home.
Enter the sun lamp. The technology has been around for quite a while, but these light fixtures seem to be going more mainstream as we progress through 2018. Countless mental health professionals today recommend giving light therapy with a sun lamp a try to mitigate the unpleasant symptoms of depression, as well as seasonal affective disorder.
How do sun lamps work exactly?
According to family medicine practitioner Robert Cain, MD, “Long periods of dark and a lack of sun exposure gets your sleep-wake rhythm thrown off. Sun lamps reset it.” The special kind of bright white light they emit can help to regulate your body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin and mood-boosting serotonin throughout the day.
A big benefit of sun lamps that rivals the real deal is that they don’t emit any ultraviolet radiation, so you really don’t have to worry about skin exposure sans sunscreen like you do outside. On the other hand, they won’t help your body produce that ever-important vitamin D in the way that real sunlight does, so make sure you still stock up on those supplements.
You should feel a noticeable difference in your mood and energy levels in a matter of a week or two if you use the lamp every day. So be mindful during this transition time, and consider tracking how you feel in a journal of sorts so you can best tell if your sun lamp is accomplishing what you’re aiming for.
How would I use it in my home?
Place your sun lamp in a space in your home that you’re most likely to use in the morning since that’s when light therapy proves most effective. Think your living room yoga routine, your coffee table breakfast time or catching up on personal reading and writing bedside.
Position your lamp above your head by 30 degrees and two feet away from your body to absorb the benefits without running the risk of damaging your eyes. (Fun fact: your light receptors are at the bottom of your eyes.) If you have a 5,000 lux lightbulb, try to spend a total of one hour a day near the lamp. If you have a 10,000 lux lightbulb, 30 minutes will do the trick.
And, just like the sun, please please please don’t stare directly into the light.
Where can I get one?
The good news is that sun lamps are accessible to pretty much anyone who’s willing to spend a little money on them — no prescription from a medical professional is necessary to acquire one. And sun lamps can be purchased in many retail stores as well as online. (You’ll be surprised how easy they are to find.)
With that said, they don’t all come cheap. The less expensive models are typically in the $40-60 price range while top-of-the-line ones will run you about $200. So just make sure you do your research and select a lamp with the right lux lightbulb for you, white light sans ultraviolet light and the ideal setup for your home (floor lamp versus table lamp).
Now, go on and harness all that radiant energy coming your way!