Whether you’ve just purchased a SAD lamp or you’re in the market for one, we’re here to help you best utilize the powers of the magical lamp!
A SAD lamp works by emitting a UVB light that is meant to simulate the same UVB light that our sun emits every single day. The light that the SAD lamp produces is roughly equivalent to exposure to natural sunlight on a cloudy day. Hence why they call this light therapy!
Listen: I love SAD lamps. They’ve helped improve my life for the better. However, you must know that they are not a substitute for actual sunlight.
In fact, a good rule of thumb is that 30 minutes of SAD lamp exposure is equal to 10 minutes of actual sunlight exposure. This means that even the best SAD lamp isn’t going to be able to replace the phototherapy health benefits from sunlight.
However, if you’re an office-jockey like me, your exposure to sunlight is going to be minimal at best. Thank you 9-5 America!
How to use SAD Light:
Using a SAD light is easy! Here are some very simple steps that you should follow to have a better experience with your SAD lamp:
- Place the SAD lamp in the darkest room of your house. You want to eliminate as much exposure to sunlight as possible (yes, this may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s been proven to be more effective)
- Optional: do something relaxing beforehand – whether it’s having a cup of tea, doing some light stretches, reading for 10 minutes, or meditating. I found that this helps me sit still for the time required
- Once you’re relaxed, sit down in a comfortable position about arms length from the SAD lamp.
- Turn the light on to your desired setting (note: if you’re just starting, then aim for a lower light output and gradually work your way up)
- Sit in front of the light for a minimum of 30 minutes, but no more than 60 minutes.
- When you’re done, turn the light off and move around – light stretching is great. If you can go outside, then that’s ideal
How long does it take until a SAD lamp works?
Most patients feel the effect of SAD lamps after 10 straight days of usage. Results are going to vary person to person. However, it’s also been shown that SAD lamps work best when in conjunction with healthy eating, exercise, and regular bedtimes.
How often to use a SAD lamp?
You’re going to want to use a SAD lamp every day (unless you happen to have a ridiculous amount of sun exposure that day, e.g. going to the beach). Getting over any form of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder included, takes consistency.
How to position a SAD lamp?
You’re going to want to position your SAD lamp directly in front of you. The goal is to expose as much of your skin to the sunlight as possible.
How close should the SAD lamp be?
A general rule of thumb is to keep the SAD lamp arms length away. These lights emit strong UVB waves, so just like the sun, you don’t want to be too close