The Best SAD Lamps To Boost Your Mood

The Best SAD Lamps To Boost Your Mood

If you’ve noticed your mood has deteriorated recently, you’re not alone, with studies suggesting 40% of British adults struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a type of depression caused by the dark days of winter. Fortunately, light therapy is an accessible and effective way to battle the blues – from portable lights to dawn stimulators, here’s what to look for and the light boxes we rate…

Aim for at least 2,500 lux: To qualify as a SAD lamp, a product needs to have a brightness of at least 2,500 lux, though there are many much more powerful than that. It’s not uncommon to find lights on the market offering up to 10,000 lux. A brighter light means greater effectiveness in a shorter amount of time – a treatment time of between half an hour and an hour per day is broadly recommended. This bright light hits your retina and sends nerve signals to the brain to shift your hormone levels and trigger the release of serotonin, the happy hormone. 

Find one with a large surface area: A decent SAD lamp should have a large light surface, ideally 30x45cm and should have a built-in UV filter (look out for one that’s labelled as ‘UV-free’). A SAD light also needs to be medically certified for treating the disorder, so look out for that verification, too.

Get the positioning right: Since the light needs to fall on both your eyes, positioning your light correctly is vital. Think about where you’ll be using it – perhaps at your desk or when watching TV in the evening.

Use it first thing: Light therapy is believed to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep and easing SAD symptoms. The experts recommend you use it in the morning and ideally not after 5pm, after which point it can affect your sleep. 

Think about your needs: Before buying a SAD lamp, you’ll want to think about the features that would be beneficial to your lifestyle. If you want to banish the afternoon slump, for example, consider a desk lamp, while those who struggle to get out of bed on winter mornings may be better off with a dawn stimulator, which mimics sunrise to create brighter mornings. A more portable design could be useful for someone who travels frequently, especially when it comes to dealing with jetlag. 
 Whether you’re looking for a wellbeing boost or a science-backed way to stave off SAD, these are the light boxes to try…


Philips SmartSleep Wake Up Light, £155

To a certain extent, SAD is a circadian rhythm disorder, so being exposed to bright light in the early hours of the day can help set your biological clock on the right track, making this offering more than just a clever alarm clock. Gradually phasing from soft dawn reds to warm orange and yellows 30 minutes before your alarm time, this clever clock will ease you into the day. Ticking all the wellness boxes, you’ll also find additional features including breathing exercises, nature sounds, environment monitoring, sleep tracking, and you can even use it as a speaker and phone charger.

Available here


Lumie Vitamin L Energy Light, £90

This slim light box is the perfect size to keep by your bed or on your desk, so you don’t need to think twice about getting your daily fix of light therapy. Bonus points go to the generous 10,000 lux and large surface area (20x28), which can be positioned in either a portrait or landscape position. Using warm LED lights and a rippled diffuser, this box emits a cosy, comfortable light that isn’t overly harsh, and it’s also free from UV-light. The clean aesthetic is modern and streamlined and it’s incredibly energy efficient, too.

Available here


Lumie Desklamp Dimmable SAD Light, £115.19

This UV- and glare-free 10,000 lux therapy lamp has an adjustable height and angle, making it perfect for every office space, even if you are working from your kitchen table. With four tap-controlled settings and energy-efficient bulbs, it’s perfect for improving mood and focus, lifting mood and restoring natural energy. The bulbs have also been enriched with extra blue light, the part of the spectrum known to have the biggest impact on circadian rhythms. 

Available here


Lumie Bodyclock Spark 100, £59.25

A market leader, this Lumie clock is a pleasing mix of simplicity and high-tech features, and it’s easy to use, even for the most technophobic. As well as mimicking the colours of sunrise, it will also help you drift off with its 30-minute sunset setting (ideal for pre-bedtime reading), and all lights can be adjusted depending on the brightness required. There’s also a nightlight option and for times when even the sun won’t motivate you, there’s a snooze button, too.

Available here


FitFort Alarm Clock, £25.99

If you’re intrigued by the idea of a dawn stimulator but hesitant to spend lots, this budget-friendly option gets our vote. Within 30 minutes, the clock will go from 10% to 100% brightness, guaranteeing a morning mood boost. Plus, you can set an alarm to any one of the wake-up light’s six natural sounds, or your favourite radio channel. As a SAD wake-up light, it does the trick, and it can be used as an ambient mood light too.

Available here


Lumie Brazil, £178.80

Ideal for those with more severe SAD symptoms, this high-spec offering provides 10,000 lux at 35cm. Standing at 50cm tall and weighing nearly 3kg, it’s the largest SAD light Lumie makes, making it more suited to those with a little more space in their home. Offering effective treatment in just 30 minutes, the brightness is also adjustable and there’s a handle for easy transportation. For a traditional light box that provides real results, look no further.

Available here


Beurer TL100, £151.48

For an aesthetically pleasing SAD light, Beurer’s sleek design won’t disappoint. A classified medical grade II product offering 10,000 lux, this box has been proven to alleviate symptoms associated with SAD in just seven days, dramatically boosting feelings of wellbeing. Treatment time, brightness and colour (there are 256 different ambient options) are all controlled via a handy app, making it ideal for a larger room or workspace. 

Available here


Beurer TL30 Ultra-Portable Daylight, £52.99

Small yet mighty, this easy-to-use light box offers 10,000 lux in a tablet-sized format. Keep it on your nightstand at home, pop it on your desk while having your morning coffee or keep it to one side for when you next travel as the box comes with a handy travel sleeve. Light therapy has been shown to rebalance melatonin levels and regulate the body clock, making it a powerful ally if you’re prone to jetlag.

Available here


Tecboss Light Therapy Lamp, £31.99

Suitable for even the smallest of flats, this neat light box is excellent value and easy to operate. Whilst it doesn’t have the frills of some of the more expensive options, it still packs 10,000 lux and is easy to operate with five brightness levels. Unlike other boxes, it also allows you to work through different light colours, with options including white, natural and warm light. We rate the user-friendly memory function that allows you to store your preferred settings, ideal if you’re sharing with a family member.

Available here

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