After so many gray days this winter, it’s easy to feel less than sunny. A trip to a California or Florida can work wonders; but a faster, less expensive way to improve your mood without drugs is to use light therapy. Light boxes mimic outdoor light, which we tend to be exposed to less of in fall and winter. Doctors have long recommended light boxes to help with seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that occurs in fall and winter.
The Blues Any Time of Year. Light boxes can also be helpful if your mood is down during or after pregnancy, if you’re feeling down after the kids have moved away or you don’t see much daylight because you work in a cubicle or office that doesn’t get exposed to much daylight.
How to Use and Choose a Light Box. Doctors recommend using a light box for 30 minutes in the morning and choosing one with at least 10,000 lux (about the same intensity of light as daylight on a clear day) and UV-filtered light (so you’re not damaging your eyes and skin). Many health insurance companies will cover the cost of a light box.
My Recommendation. We recently tried the NatureBright SunTouch Plus ($99) and was very impressed with the results. We felt much better on a gray day after just one 30-minute session with this light box. Here are some reasons why we like this one in particular:
- Light Quality. It has the recommended 10,000 lux and emits UV-free light that mimics a blue sky.
- Price. Reasonably priced at $99 (light boxes can be as expensive as $500).
- Size. It’s big enough to put out a lot of light (vs. little handheld models) but small enough to sit on a nightstand (some are much bigger).
- Timer. It has 15, 30, 45 and 60-minute timer options so you can easily keep track of how long you’re using it.
- Insurance. According to the company, most health insurance will cover the cost of it.
(This review originally appeared on Hello Beauty.)