Best Light Therapy Devices

    Man and women weren’t meant to be cave-dwellers. So many of the health problems we face in this day and age are simply a result of over-exposure to artificial light and under-exposure to the sun. A few of the maladies caused by limited exposure to the sun’s natural light rays include:

    • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    • Alzheimer’s
    • Anxiety
    • Skin conditions of all kinds
    • Depression (and other mood disorders)
    • Cold and Flu
    • Autoimmunity
    • Cancer.

    Our body requires sun for many biological processes that help maintain proper health, including the production of vitamin D; a vital nutrient produced when the sun hits our bare skin.

    The human body thrives under light conditions of 10,000 – 100,000 lux. The sun reaches 10,000 soon after rising in the morning and reaches a peak midday at around 100,000 (learn more about lux).

    A typical home has artificial lights that give off around 200 – 500 lux; a modern office environment around 500 lux. These light waves mimmick the sun’s intensity soon before a sunset, causing us to be over-tired and our hormone balance to fall out of line.

    Without proper lighting, our bodies are left in a constant “bedtime state.”

    Light therapy, sometimes called phototherapy, has proved to offer significant improvements to the health of those who use it, in many clinical studies over the last decade. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of using a light therapy device, features to look for when you buy, and our list of recommended products.

    Note: *Sources* are linked at the end of the page if you’re interested in seeing a few of the studies that have been documented on the clinical benefits of light therapy.

    Top 10 Light Therapy Devices

    #1Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light Lamp Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light Lamp Mor Info
    #2NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp More Info
    #3Naturebright L6060 Per2 Led Daylight Lamp Naturebright L6060 Led Daylight Lamp More Info
    #4Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light More Info
    #5Day-Light Sky 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp Day-Light Sky 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp More Info
    #6Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device More Info
    #7Day-Light Classic 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp Carex Health Brands Day-Light Classic 10,000 LUX SAD Lamp More Info
    #8Caribbean Sun Box Light Therapy SAD Sunbox Caribbean Sun Box Light Therapy SAD Sunbox More Info
    #9Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light More Info
    #10HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp More Info

    3 Common Benefits of Using Light Therapy Devices

    1. Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Commonly referred to as SAD, this disorder is a direct result of not getting enough sunlight. Light therapy with a device that operates at 10,000 lux has proved to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of SAD when patients are treated for at least 15 minutes a day.

    2. Anxiety/Depression

    Many cases of anxiety and depression are caused by spending too much time surrounded by artificial light. Our biological clock is designed to thrive under the light of the sun. Light therapy, using the right spectrum and lux helps to reset our clock and restore the hormone levels that are disrupted by anxiety and depression.

    3. Productivity

    Since office buildings typically fall into the 500 lux zone, they just don’t offer the 10,000 lux of light our body and mind needs to be truly productive. Just 15 minutes of exposure to at least 2,000 lux or more can boost productivity by 8% (learn more).

    How to Choose the Right Light for Your Needs

    1. Lumen Output

    Is the light capable of reaching 10,000 lux, which is closest to that which the early morning sun emits? This luminance is perfect for waking up refreshed and energized in the morning. However, if you’re looking for relaxation, a lux range of 2,500 – 5500 will be just perfect for your needs.

    2. Bulb Type

    When considering bulb type consider both the lumen output and type (LED, fluorescent, incandescent). Cheap lights will have cheap incandescent bulbs which won’t have the lumen output needed for therapy. Most fluoro units will fall into this category too, but not all. LED’s are by far the best value, as their output stays steady for decades, while fluorescents are rated for 10,000 hours or fewer.

    3. Shut-Off Timer

    A shut off timer is great if you’re trying to boost your vitamin D production and mood.

    4. Wake Up Feature

    You can purchase therapy lights that offer a wake up feature. They turn the light on at low intensity an hour or so before you rise, then gradually ramp up the lumen output to that of what the actual sun is in the morning (10,000 lux) when it’s time to wake up. Many will offer an audio alarm feature too.

    5. Manufacturer Rep

    Check the reviews and the manufacturer’s reputation. If nobody’s talking about them, move on and find one that does.

    Review of the Top 10 Light Therapy Devices Currently on the Market


    #1.Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light Lamp

    Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    This ultra affordable Lightphoria product is a traveler’s dream! There’s nothing that’s harder on the body than traveling between different timezones frequently. This 10,000 lux light is compact and handy, running on 72 long-lasting LED bulbs which are rated to last at least 20 years. The power consumption with this lamp is super low, at only 7.2 watts.

    The Lightphoria doesn’t come with a ton of extra features when compared to the others on this list, but it does offer 3 light settings: 5,000 lux, 8,000 lux, and 10,000 lux. Designed with the traveler in mind, this Lightphoria lamp comes with a worldwide voltage adapter for people who make frequent trips overseas.

    #2.NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

    NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    This particular light does not come with an alarm function, but instead a timer that can be adjusted to turn off in 15 minutes (15, 30, 45, 60). It’s recommended by the NYC Psychiatric institute for it’s anti-anxiety benefits. The 17,000 kelvin light emits a perfect 10,000 lux.

    The SunTouch Plus also offers an added negative ion-therapy feature, for people suffering from clinically-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder, women suffering from long painful menstrual cycle symptoms, and healthy people who just want to maximize their health in every way possible.

    There’s some controversy over the effectiveness of negative ion therapy, so don’t buy this light over other brands that don’t include this feature. This is a perfect light therapy lamp and the price’s right, provided you’re not looking for an alarm function or dimming feature.

    #3.Naturebright L6060 Led Daylight Lamp

    Naturebright L6060 Per2 Led Daylight Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    The L6060 from Naturebright is one of the most inexpensive light therapy/wake up lamps you’ll find out there, with a price-tag of just $80 + tax on Amazon. Best of all, it uses LED’s which are often much more expensive to purchase, and known to last for decades over fluorescent and incandescent lights.

    The Naturebright comes with a lot of the bells and whistles that pricier units do including a wakeup timer that activates a sound and the light, adjustable lighting intensity, along with a sleek modern design. The big selling feature of this light is the low power consumption; less than 10 watts at full lighting intensity.

    The one drawback of the L6060 is that it doesn’t offer full spectrum “wake-up friendly” 10,000 lux like many of the others on this page do. The intensity ranges from 2700 – 6500 lux. Great value for the low price. Good for productivity while working at a desk.

    #4.Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light

    Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation

    Where to buy: Amazon

    This wake up light from Philips is an excellent value. This light kills two birds with one stone by offering a wake up alarm featuring 5 nature sounds, along with a timer that switches the light onto a low setting, 20 – 40 minutes before your alarm goes off, and gradually increases the light intensity to 10,000 lux just before the alarm. This effect helps to stimulate your biological clock by simulating a sunrise perfectly!

    The HF3520 also has a nighttime sleep timer that reverses the sunrise effect, by gradually reducing the emitted light to simulate a sunset in the evening. This product comes with a dimmer function that adjusts to 20 varying levels of brightness. The controls are all touch sensitive. Replacement bulbs are very affordable, ringing in at just over $50.

    #5.Day-Light Sky 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp

    Day-Light Sky 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    The Day-Light Sky is a multi-use light that offers both therapy and glare-free task lighting functions. The therapy function is adjustable up to 10,000 lux to mimmick all spectrum light levels of the sun throughout the day. One standout feature of this light is the BrightZone Technology, which balances the UV rays output by the light, depending on the intensity level, while filtering glare when set to the task setting.

    The bulbs are rated to work for 8,000 hours of use, but it’s a smart idea to buy an extra bulb for later on when the intensity begins to degrade. This product comes from the makers of the original, highly-recommended Uplift lights, called Carex Health Brands.

    #6.Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

    Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

    Where to buy: Amazon

    The goLITE BLU from Philips is the latest and greatest in portable light therapy devices. It’s fully digital, using touchscreen technology for the settings and display. You can take the goLITE anywhere, it’s rechargeable. The powerful yet energy-saving LED’s emit 10,000 lux of blue-spectrum light to alleviate SAD symptoms, depression, and vitamin D deficiency caused by extended periods without proper exposure to the sun.

    This is a feature rich light therapy unit, offering an alarm feature with sound, multiple intensity settings, session timer, and a whopping 50-year rating on the LED’s. While the lights aren’t replaceable, Philips has tested the lights extensively and claim the intensity will never reduce during the life of this unit. Philips goLITE BLU is one of the most talked about, highest rated light therapy products on forums dealing with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety, and general health.

    #7.Carex Health Brands Day-Light Classic 10,000 LUX SAD Lamp

    Day-Light Classic 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    This Carex product offers full-spectrum daylight lighting, along with an ambient light setting for when it’s time to relax and/or go to bed. The Carex Classic’s design is similar to that of a portable makeup mirror, with two legs and a vertical swiveling head with three replaceable fluorescents installed. The swivel design makes it easy to set the light to focus directly on yourself, or to light an entire room.

    The packaging claims studies have shown this light can start to reverse the symptoms of SAD in as little as two weeks. The flicker free fluorescents are rated to 10,000 hours of use and only cost $15 to replace. Be sure to purchase an additional bulb if you plan to use this light regularly.

    8.Caribbean Sun Box Light Therapy SAD Sunbox

    Caribbean Sun Box Light Therapy SAD Sunbox

    Where to buy: Amazon

    This portable, low power light therapy device comes with an unheard of 10-year warranty! It uses LED’s to power out up to 10,000 lux, while the 108 LED bulbs only consume 9 watts. The UV output is completely filtered to reduce eye strain and potential over-exposure, so you can turn this unit on and leave it on for as long as you want. The Caribbean Sunbox is a portable unit that weighs just 3 pounds, about the same size as a large tablet at 9” x 5”.

    The higher price is justified when considering the Sunbox comes with 108 LED’s that can easily last for 50 years or more, combined with the staggering worry-free warranty.

    #9.Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light

    Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light

    Where to buy: Amazon

    The HF3500 is an entry-level wake up light from Philips, similar to the 3520 reviewed earlier, but without true sunlight simulation. This is a great product for someone who’s looking for dual function light/audio alarm. There’s a dimmer with 10 different light intensities that go up to 200 lux, which is similar to most household incandescent lamps.

    This is a bright yellow-spectrum light, enabling you to wake up easily, but it doesn’t mimmick the sun’s natural wavelengths. There’s only a single beeping sound included for the alarm function, but the beep starts out at a low level, then gradually gets louder to ensure you’re not shocked out of an amazing dream too quickly!

    10.HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp

    HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp

    Where to buy: Amazon

    The sub $40 HappyLight is designed to keep you rejuvenated and relaxed with some well-calibrated light therapy. The bulbs are replaceable with different spectrum frequencies. Out of the box, the 10,000 hour bulb provided offers a late afternoon light spectrum of 2,500 lux to relax your body, keeping stress levels low and productivity high.

    The HappyLight isn’t intended to help you wake up in the morning, but is a great way to beat the winter and office blues; excellent for people who suffer from SAD. The replacement bulbs range from $15 – $25. This unit will accommodate lights up to 5500 lux.

    Summary

    The research in the area of light therapy can’t be disputed. If you often find yourself feeling tired, depressed, anxious, or plagued by health problems, light therapy can definitely help!

    Feel free to read through the studies and authoritative articles listed below, to learn more about the science behind this emerging therapy.

    *Sources:*

    The efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and meta-analysis of the evidence. National Institutes of Health, US National Library of Medicine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15800134

    Light Therapies For Depression. James R. Phelps, M.D. http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/LightTherapy.htm

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298

    Light Therapy Promising for Treating Major Depression. Dr. Joseph Mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/01/26/light-therapy-promising-for-treating-major-depression.aspx

    Targeted Light Therapy Destroys Cancer Cells. National Institutes of Health (NIH). http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/december2011/12052011light.htm

    Psoriasis Treatments. National Psoriasis Foundation. http://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments

    Phototherapy. National Psoriasis Foundation. http://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/phototherapy

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