Light therapy is something that has caught the attention of the media considerably in recent years. Light therapy is being used not only to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but also in a wide range of aesthetic treatments, from hair growth to boosting collagen.
Special white light boxes with very high luminosity light are available to treat SAD and require patients to have around 30 minutes a day of treatment to help prevent the symptoms of SAD.1,2,3 Infrared light can also be used for the same purpose.
Using a white light box is a simple and effective option for many people and has been shown to be safe for your eyes, with no side effects.4
Dr Jess has also seen a number of patients who have reported benefitting from the daily use of a light box to treat SAD, and has also had encouraging reports of natural light alarm clocks, like the Philips Lumea. Sunrise alarm clocks gradually increase light levels in your room as a simulated sunrise to bring you out of sleep more gently.
To best treat the symptoms of SAD, Jess recommends a near infrared light box – known as red light therapy boxes: These retail online from around £150-£1000, and require between 10-20 minutes a day of use. For a more affordable option, consider a white light lamp, (called a SAD lamp); available online for £30-50. Try sitting in front of these for 30 minutes a day though autumn and winter.
Why not give one of these a try for a happier, more energised winter?
- Meesters Y, Beersma DG, Bouhuys AL, van den Hoofdakker RH. Prophylactic treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) by using light visors: bright white or infrared light? Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Jul 15;46(2):239-46. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(98)00252-2. PMID: 10418699.
- Pail G, Huf W, Pjrek E, Winkler D, Willeit M, Praschak-Rieder N, Kasper S. Bright-light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders. Neuropsychobiology. 2011;64(3):152-62. doi: 10.1159/000328950. Epub 2011 Jul 29. PMID: 21811085.
- Pjrek E, Friedrich ME, Cambioli L, Dold M, Jäger F, Komorowski A, Lanzenberger R, Kasper S, Winkler D. The Efficacy of Light Therapy in the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Psychother Psychosom. 2020;89(1):17-24. doi: 10.1159/000502891. Epub 2019 Oct 1. PMID: 31574513.
- Brouwer A, Nguyen HT, Snoek FJ, van Raalte DH, Beekman ATF, Moll AC, Bremmer MA. Light therapy: is it safe for the eyes? Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2017 Dec;136(6):534-548. doi: 10.1111/acps.12785. Epub 2017 Sep 10. PMID: 28891192.