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It’s normal to feel a little sluggish in winter when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. One way to put a pep back in your step in the colder months is through light therapy, otherwise known as phototherapy, where you sit in front of an artificial light meant to mimic the effects of natural sunlight. Note: Anyone experiencing severe seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or who is depressed should speak with their doctor first.
Here, the best light therapy lamps available online.
Best Overall: Verilux HappyLight VT10 Compact
With a 20-square inch bulb, the Verilux Happy Light V10 is small yet mighty. It delivers a powerful 10,000 lux (a measurement of the amount of light used in the treatment) and works from up to 2 feet away; the closer it is to you, the less time you’ll need to use it to reap the benefits. With its compact size, this therapy lamp is ideal for taking on the road to help you fight the effects of jet lag. It works without UV so you won’t have to worry about sunburn and features Flicker Elimination Technology and Optix Glare Control Lens to protect your eyes from damage.
"I used the Verilux HappyLight VT10 for at least 10 minutes per day (and up to three hours) for one month. Overall, it helped me get through the gloomiest winter days—kind of like a happy little sidekick on my desk." — Stephanie Vermillion, Product Tester
Best Budget: Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
The makers of this line of stylishly-designed lamps were inspired to create them on one particularly cold winter day in Minnesota; then products first came to light on Shark Tank. At a budget price, this is one of the best lights for those new to light therapy; it’s recommended you use for 20 to 60 minutes a day—beginners should err on the lower side until they get a sense of how the light treatment affects them. It has three light settings with a max output of 10,000 lux and the light panel is adjustable. Reviewers note that you do need to sit close to this lamp to experience the full effects.
Best Desk-Sized Lamp: Carex Day-Light Classic Plus
Looking to boost your spirits and your energy while you work? Try out this top-rated Carex lamp that's sized just right for your desk. It provides 10,000 LUX of glare-free white light that’s 99.3 percent UV blocked that works from up to 12 inches away. The glare-free light can be angled and the height of the stand is adjustable, too—reviewers note that they love that it can go from therapy lamp to regular light with the touch of a button. It’s not recommended that you wear sunglasses when using light therapy because they can interfere with the benefits, but reading glasses are okay.
Best Splurge: Alaska Northern Lights Northstar Light Therapy Lamp
With 280 square inches of lens, this is one of the larger therapy lamps available; it’s so big it works from 24 inches away and two people can use it comfortably at the same time. You can set it horizontally or vertically depending on your space and your needs. It offers 10,000 lux without any UV exposure and thanks to the hertz electronic ballast the light is flicker-free. It comes with two broad-spectrum Biax bulbs. As the name suggests, the company is, yes, located in Alaska where daylight is at a premium in the winter months.
Best Alarm Clock: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light with Colored Sunrise Simulation
If you’re the type of person who needs natural daylight to wake up, this is the alarm clock for you. The light gradually turns on with a colored sunrise simulation at your designated time to gently rouse you—even when it’s still dark outside. If that doesn’t sound like enough to wake you up, rest assured that it has five wake up sounds or can be set to an FM radio station as an additional alarm. There’s a snooze button for the sounds, too. At nighttime, it does the reverse, slowly dimming the lights to mimic a sunset to lull you into sleep.
Best Design: Northern Light Luxor Therapy 18" Desk Lamp
If you’re going to have a lamp sitting on your desk or nightstand, you want it to be attractive. This pyramid-shaped therapy lamp for Northern Light Technologies is so sleek and cleverly designed, you might have wanted it in your home even if it didn’t offer the benefits of a light therapy lamp. One side of the pyramid lights up with UV-blocked, 10,000 lux that works at a distance of 12 inches. It’s recommended that to enjoy the most benefits from light therapy, you schedule it into your morning and avoid it at bedtime when it could throw off your circadian rhythms. It comes with one CFL bulb that is rated to last for an impressive 100,000 hours.
Best Floor Lamp: Flamingo 10,000 Lux Bright Light Therapy Floor Lamp
One of the easiest ways to get light therapy is with a floor lamp because it’s simple to adjust the bulb’s position and angle. This 4-foot one from Canadian-brand Flamingo offers a potent 10,000 lux at up to 12 inches away. When you’re finished with your session, the large screen can be angled up to light up the entire room; at only 48 watts it won’t run up your energy bill. Reviewers note that it makes a great lamp for reading and crafting. It has a solid 10-pound base so you won’t have to worry about your pets or littles accidentally knocking it over.
Best Light Bulb: NorbSmile Premium LED Light Bulb
If you’re not ready to invest in a lamp, a light therapy light bulb is a good entry point. The full-spectrum LED light bulbs use what the brand describes as a patented LED chip that imitates sunlight, minus the harmful UV rays. Though it’s not as intense as a light therapy lamp, the bulb that is said to make you more energized, happier, and productive, can be used in any light fixture that works with LED bulbs; it's 11 watts and 680 lumens. The brand recommends using it in your kitchen or home office where you spend your waking hours, versus your bedroom where you retreat when you want to go to sleep.