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October 13, 2022 — 1:02 AM
There’s a lot to love about the arrival of autumn: gut-healthy pumpkin spice drinks, fall nail colors, cozy date nights, and cold weather, i.e., your built-in excuse to stay in and cook your favorite healthy meals. But the seasonal change also comes with a few not-so-pleasant side effects: dry skin, a more vulnerable immune system, and fewer hours of sunlight. And while I’d rather not endure any of these shifts, the last one is the worst.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced the all-too-familiar afternoon slumps that come with less sunlight. Research backs me on this, showing that the sun can actually have a huge impact on our energy levels, as well as our mood, cognitive function, and our circadian rhythm.
Unfortunately, the day doesn’t stop when the sun goes down, which means I need another way to avoid the dreaded energy slump, and no natural solution works quite as well as a light therapy lamp aka a sun lamp.
While you can find many sun lamps on the market, my tried-and-true is the Verilux HappyLight. Designed without the unnecessary bells and whistles seen on many other options, it’s a true budget-friendly pick that does exactly what it needs. Here’s why I’m obsessed.
What is a light therapy lamp?
A light therapy lamp mimics natural sunlight by emitting either bright white or warm light sans UV rays. Designed for bright light therapy—a promising treatment for seasonal mood changes and delayed circadian phases—the lamps emit light up to 10,000 lux to brighten your day (literally).
When added to your daily routine, these lamps “promote serotonin production and reduce melatonin production,” per a previous interview with mental-health-focused physician Lizz Kinyua, M.D. As a result, a 30-minute treatment is recommended by most experts first thing in the morning to maximize the benefits.
Why I added the Verilux lamp to my routine.
As someone who feels the afternoon crash hit particularly hard this time of year—when the daylight starts to fade before the workday ends—I’m always looking for mood-boosting solutions. Some days I’m the type of person who can pop up for a midday yoga flow or sneak outside for an afternoon walk to reenergize, but let’s be honest, these aren’t necessarily the most practical habits.
So when an ad for the Verilux HappyLight appeared during a social media scroll, I was immediately drawn to the mood-boosting claims—who doesn’t want to overcome the winter blues? However, I quickly discovered so much more: a low-effort tool to lift my energy levels throughout the day.
How does the Verilux HappyLight work?
The lamp features a large full-spectrum lens that mimics natural sunlight by delivering up to 10,000 lux on the highest setting, the standard lux for effective light therapy. The adjustable pick only emits white light but offers adjustable settings to personalize the intensity, starting at just 6,500 lux.
At first glance, the lamp appears bulky and heavy, but it’s actually incredibly lightweight and portable—which means it can easily be moved around my home throughout the day. Some days I put it on my standing desk, while others I move it over to the kitchen counter or nightstand. Wherever I place it, I can count on the lamp’s titling base to help better direct the light toward my face.
While the brand (and experts) recommends using the lamp for 30 minutes per day when you wake up, I’ll often use it for shorter spurts throughout my afternoon when I’m most in need of a mood boost. I feel immediate results with a perkiness that’s almost equivalent to a cup of my favorite matcha.
Getting outside every day is a must for my mental, physical, and emotional health—but on the days when there’s not much sunlight and work is hectic, the Verilux HappyLight is my secret weapon. Just 30 minutes straight or small spurts throughout the day help to keep my energy up, and there’s a noticeable improvement in my productivity on the days I’m using it. So, while I can’t add more hours of sunlight to the day, this light is the next best thing. Inspired to have a healthier winter? Here are some more products to continue easing the seasonal transition.