Do you feel a bit sad during every winter? Well, you are not alone. Most of the population experience some kind of mood swings during the icy weather. That phenomenon is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which can prove to be a tremendous problem, especially that it doesn’t stop at simple mood swings, but it can turn into a full-on depression among other symptoms, such as insomnia, weight loss, and anxiety.
Several studies were done on the matter, and researchers suggested numerous treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Among the most popular ones is Light Therapy. Mayo Clinic states that “a light therapy box mimics outdoor light.” As SAD is mainly caused by the decreased sunlight exposure, light therapy can help you reach the required amount of Ultraviolet radiations and thus reverse the effects of SAD. We will get into details later in this article, in which we will go through what you need to consider when trying to buy a SAD lamp as well as the best products in this category.
Say goodbye to winter blues; they will be a thing of the past once you reach the end of our guide.
SAD Light Bulbs Reviews
1. ALZO 27W Full Spectrum CFL SAD Light Bulb
When it comes to SAD Light Bulbs, no brand can rival Lightning ALZO. This company has been providing quality products for years, and this 4-piece model is no exception. Forget about winter sadness and delayed sleep phase disorder, as this bulb can offer an enriched spectrum of blue light that can boost energy and safely regulate the circadian rhythm.
Installing this light is easy as pie, but you need one of the medium base E27/26 sockets, as this bulb may prove to be too large for standard sockets. Once that is done, use this bulb during the morning to late afternoon to get the benefits of sunlight without having to leave your chair. Just make sure that the area in which the bulb is installed has good ventilation to promote a longer lifespan of the appliance.
Not only does it help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but proper exposure to this light can be an excellent alternative to caffeine and energy drinks when it comes to boosting energy and enhancing your mood and performance. That is done thanks to the enriched spectrum blue light that can trigger melatonin production and therefore circadian rhythm regulation.
Each light bulb of this package doesn’t produce unnecessary heat and is flicker-free, allowing them to last 10.000 hours each.
What we like about it
ALZO’s 27W Full Spectrum CFL Light Bulbs are powerful, installation-ready, and safe. If you are looking for an excellent alternative to energy drinks that can help with your winter sadness, this a solid choice to consider.
2. ALZO 15W Joyous Light Full Spectrum CFL SAD Light Bulb
ALZO continues to impress us with another excellent product; the 15W Joyous Light Full Spectrum CFL Light Bulb. Just like the above product from the same manufacturer, this bulb emits Full Spectrum Light that can be really effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder, PMS, and PTSD. As for the specifications, this light can provide 5500K and 750 Lumens, making it the closest match to natural sunlight.
You can install this bulb in any medium base E27/26 socket and forget about it as it can least for good 10.000 hours once it’s in place. The light isn’t dimmable, but that is a bearable sacrifice considering that price would double if this bulb had that feature. Again, make sure the installation area is well-ventilated to get the most out of your bulb.
What we like about it
Countless users have reported that this bulb was effective in treating their SAD symptoms and boosting their energy levels throughout the day. That may seem too good to be true, especially considering the price point, but the specifications of this bulb prove that it can reliably replicate natural sunlight and reverse the effects of winter.
3. Square Perfect 3077 S Professional Quality 85-Watt Compact Fluorescent Full Spectrum SAD Bulb
Even though Square Perfect is less-known thatn ALZO, it is still an excellent brand in the bulbs industry. Just like our other suggestions, this 5500k spiral bulb is highly-efficient and can be a practical solution to treat SAD, as recommended by countless psychologists around the globe.
This bulb fits in standard sockets, which makes installing it quite the easy task. The spiral design is excellent as it can comfortably illuminate any room around the house.
What we like about it
Even though it is not what we’d call a fancy product, the 3077 S light bulb proves to be an effective and reasonably-priced solution for Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you are on a budget and cannot afford to get a Light Therapy Box, we highly recommend this bulb.
4. Indoor Sunshine: Single 15-watt Spiral SAD Bulb
The Indoor Sunshine: Single 15-watt Spiral Bulb is another excellent recommendation that delivers a superb daylight experience inside the house, office or any work environment. Users around the world have reported that the True Bio-Correct Full Spectrum Light provided by this bulb was effective for several health issues, including SAD, PMS, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, and Autism. It can also be used for those seeking a device that can guarantee a proper energy boost and awakening in the morning.
Durability-wise, this spiral bulb can last for 10.000 hours if used properly, which means that you will have to wait for a long time before you get to replace the bulb.
As for the safety, Indoor Sunshine promises the safest experience as their bulb provides sunlight-like radiation with 1/10 of the brightness, which means that you don’t have to use googles while getting your daily dose of daylight exposure.
What we like about it
If you are looking for a reliable immunity and energy booster, Indoor Sunshine’s Single 15-watt Spiral Bulb is definitely worth a look as it provides a sunlight-like experience capable of turning your sad days into happy, energetic ones.
5. Sylvania F40DSGN50-40-Watt T12 5000K Full Spectrum Fluorescent SAD Light Bulb
Even though it isn’t dedicated for SAD treatment, Sylvania’s 24683 Light Bulbs have been tested by several users with winter blue who reported that they witnessed a significant mood improvement after trying them. Not only that, but these bulbs can be used to boost energy levels in several work environments such as food stores and artwork studios as they mimic sunlight reliably without sending any harmful UV radiations.
What we dig about them is the fact that they are eco-friendly and can last for an extended period of time, approximately 20.000 hours.
Installing this bulb is easy and straightforward, and it measures 49 x 7 x 7 inches.
What we like about it
Whether you are looking for natural light for your art shop or seeking a solution for sleep deprivation and other devastating symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, the Sylvania 24683 Light Bulbs will surely meet your expectations.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you feel moody during winter, chances are you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or winter blues. This health issue is caused by the decreased sunlight cold seasons when the day is too short compared to the night. You may suffer from SAD in other situations, such as when:
- You live in a cloudy environment
- You spend most of your time inside
- Your workplace doesn’t have windows
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Appetite, weight, and sleep changes
- Loss of interest for favorite activities
- Constant depressive feeling
- Anxiety and agitation
- Weight gain or loss
Some of these symptoms may seem contradictory, but that’s because there are different types of SAD, mainly winter-onset Seasonal Affective Disorder, during winter and fall, and Reverse SAD, which can be experienced during summer and spring.
What is Light Therapy?
As the name indicates, this treatment relies on using a Light Therapy Device that releases sunlight-like radiations, which triggers certain areas in our brains to regulate our mood, boost our energy, and improve our overall health.
The exact mechanism behind such a health improvement can be a bit tricky to understand, but we will try to explain it in simple words. When our eyes perceive daylight, specific receptors get triggered depending on the wavelength of the radiation. That led to the creation of three light therapy types: Blue vs. Red vs. White Light Therapy.
Blue vs. Red vs. White Light Therapy
For starters, blue light, for which the wavelength ranges from 446 to 477 nm, stimulates melatonin production and release, which results in more energy during the day and better sleep during the night. Red Light Therapy Devices, on the other hand, are used to stimulate the mitochondria, which results in more cellular energy. That, in turn, can lead to faster wound healing and can be used to treat atrophy, bone density problems, and Arthritis. The final type, White or Full spectrum light, is brighter and can trigger several areas of the brain, which results in overall mood improvement, hormonal regulation, and circadian level adjustment.
How to Measure the Effectiveness?
Light intensity can be measured, and the unit is called Lux. Most light devices nowadays have a 10.000-lux intensity, but the minimal amount needed for proper treatment is 2.500 lux. Keep in mind that the brighter the light, the less exposure time you need.
Light Therapy Devices come in two variations: traditional full-spectrum tube bulbs and modern LED light boxes, both of which have been proven to be very effective in Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment. Traditional bulbs mimic daylight, while a light box can either emit white, blue, or red light.
How Do Sad Light Bulbs Work?
Unlike light boxes, which are a bit cumbersome, light bulbs can be installed as desk and floor lamps for continuous exposure. Many people reported getting excellent results and noticing a considerable mood improvement during winter by using this type of light therapy. It’s also safe for all ages, including adults and Teenagers, and you can take a bulb with you when you are Travelling for extended effects.
These bulbs emit full-spectrum light, which is defined as a strong blue wavelength color temperature along with a high color rendering index, making it the closest to natural daylight. Besides SAD, you can use such a bulb as a Vitamin D Lamp, as sunlight can help with deficiency of this nourishment.
What Are the Types of Light Therapy Devices?
When light therapy was first introduced, only specific boxes existed. Now, several light therapy devices are available on the market, including:
- Light Therapy Glasses
- Dawn simulators
- Light Timers
- Light bulbs
- Sun visors
Are SAD Light Bulbs Safe?
Seasonal Affective Disorder bulbs are entirely safe to use because they do not emit ultraviolet radiation that can harm the eyes and the skin. They usually replicate sunlight with a decreased brightness to protect the skin and the eyes during long exposure times.
Note that some minimal side effects have been noted, including headaches, eyestrain/irritation, insomnia, and nausea. Those adverse effects usually disappear after a few days of treatment though, so you should be safe. Precautions can be taken to decrease the likelihood of those effects, including decreasing the exposure time and intensity of the light.
If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider before resorting to this treatment, especially if you are on particular medications, pregnant, or of extreme age.
Do SAD Light Bulbs Actually Work?
Light therapy effectiveness for Seasonal Affective Disorder has been proven through 15 different research centers, both in the US and abroad. These studies found that signs of improvement started showing after one week, and the symptoms started appearing again as soon as the light therapy was withdrawn.
You should note that this therapy doesn’t cure SAD, but it works on relieving its symptoms, which results in:
- Better sleep
- Mood improvement
- Regulated circadian rhythm
- Decreased depressive feeling
- More energy, focus, and awakening
These effected are short-lasting though, and you need regular exposure to continue benefiting from light therapy, which means that you have to repeat the process during every winter. Although it seems hard, commitment is a fair price to pay in change for the peace of mind you get thanks to this treatment.
How to Choose the Best SAD Light Bulb?
When picking a SAD light bulb, there several aspects to consider.
Make Sure the Device is Made for SAD Treatment
Many people think that light therapy is exclusively used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and other psychological problems. That is only a misconception as some bulbs are designed to cure other issues such as skin disorders by emitting UV radiations, which can damage your eyes if misused. Before buying a SAD light bulb, check whether it is specifically designed to treat this issue or not, and consult your healthcare provider if you get confused.
Check the Side Effects
While most light therapy bulbs are risk-free, some devices can be hazardous for certain people and conditions. Go through the manufacturer’s indications to ensure that none of your existing conditions (if any) is a counterindication for SAD Light Bulbs.
Check the Intensity
Consult your doctor and examine your daily life to determine how much exposure you need. Different people need different intensities, so make sure that the SAD light bulb you are getting matches your needs. Ideally, the best intensity is 10.000 lux, but even 2.500 lux can be enough in most instances.
Check UV emissions
Before getting your SAD light bulb, go through the product specifications to make sure it filters most of the ultraviolet radiations as they can damage your eyes if they exceed safe limits.
Make Sure It Matches Your Lifestyle
While a SAD light bulb can be used as a standard lamp in your house, you might want to consider getting a portable Light Therapy Box if you travel a lot and need to take your device with you.
Although being a cozy season, winter can bring several issues when it comes, including Seasonal Affective Disorder, Vitamin D Deficiency, and even depression due to the decrease in sunlight exposure. Thankfully, light therapy was invented to mimic daylight and reverse most of winter adverse effects.
If you have been suffering from health problems during cold seasons, getting a SAD light bulb can be your best solution, especially that the reported side effects are unnoticeable.
All the above suggestions are excellent choices when it comes to light therapy bulbs, but our first recommendation is undoubtedly ALZO’s 27W Full Spectrum CFL Light Bulb. It mimics the effects of sunlight and can boost energy levels, enhance productivity, and relieves the symptoms and effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder and other diseases. What more could one ask for?
The other recommendations are excellent as well and can help with your winter sadness. Once you get your SAD light bulb installed, make sure to get the proper exposure that you need without overdoing it as that can backfire and cause adverse effects.