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Written by: Anisha Rao, 10/17/2020

depressed woman using a sunlight lamp
Source: shine365.marshfieldclinic.org website

As the days begin to grow shorter and the air turns a bit crisper, you may have noticed a change in your mental health.

If you’re feeling depressed or sleeping too much or even have your days and nights mixed up, a sunlight desk lamp may be able to help get things back on track.

The light delivered through sunlamps is often quite useful for people with seasonal affective disorder and several other moods, sleep, and even skin elements.

Keep reading to see our reviews on the best sunlight desk lamps on the market today.

Disclaimer

The information contained below is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. If you are considering using a sunlight desk lamp, it is essential to contact your primary care provider and determine whether a sunlight desk lamp is right for you. 

Comparison Table Of The Best Sunlight Desk Lamps

Best use for
Features
Price
Miroco light lamp
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Full-spectrum light, build in timer, portable
Click Here
Lavish Home Lamp
Reading & Crafts
Mimics natural light, adjustable neck, comes in several colors
Click Here
Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0
Depression
Adjustable main light panel, 3 light levels, longer lasting LED bulbs
Click Here
Verilux Happy Light VT20
Sleep Cycle
Extra-large 41 square inch lens, various lens options, stand or wall mount
Click Here
Z-Bar Gen 3 Task Lamp
Tasks
Extra-long power cord, 3 flexible bar design, long-lasting LED Bulbs
Click Here
Pixo Plus Task Lamp
Tasks
Flexibility, USB port for charging, available in multiple colors
Click Here
Kelvin Task Lamp
Tasks
Rotating head and arm, self-adjusting light, motion sensor
Click Here

What Are Sunlight Desk Lamps?

A sun lamp, also called SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp, light therapy, box happy light, or natural light lamp, is a unique light designed to mimic natural light.

Light therapy, also called bright light therapy, is an effective treatment for:

  • seasonal affective disorder
  • depression
  • lack of vitamin D exposure
  • and various skin ailments.

Seasonal affective disorder is a specific type of depression during the fall and winter months when the days get shorter. We spend more time indoors and don’t get enough sunlight.

The light emitted by sun lamps helps to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the body.

These two chemicals help control your sleep and wake cycle as well as reduce anxiety and improve mood. Low levels of serotonin are also linked to depression. 

Why Might You Need A Sunlight Lamp?

Amid summer months, there are plenty of daylight hours to absorb enough vitamin D.

Still, during the winter months, especially in much of North America, it is virtually impossible to get enough Vitamin D from the sun alone.

Vitamin D also referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin, is thought to protect against various diseases, including:

  • osteoporosis
  • heart disease
  • cancers of the colon, breast, and prostate.

Also, sunlight has other hidden benefits like protecting against depression, sleeping difficulties, and regulating body nutrients essential for bone health.

A 2010 study found the following:

0%
of the US population is vitamin D deficient
0%
of children exhibited higher but still insufficient levels of vitamin D

Some populations, such as people over 65 and premenopausal women, have even higher deficiency levels.

Different groups of people need different amounts of sun exposure or vitamin D to stay healthy.

For example, infants only need to consume 400 IU(international units) per day, whereas those over the age of 70 need around 800 IU.

The amount of sunlight one needs to absorb to accomplish this varies depending on age and skin type.

For example, during the summer months around noon in Miami, Florida, with skin type III (someone who tans well but sometimes burns) would need to spend approximately six minutes in the sun to synthesize 1000 IU of vitamin D. During the winter months, fifteen minutes would be required.

The further north one goes, the more challenging it may be to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun.

A person in Boston with the same skin type during the winter requires over an hour.

It is virtually impossible for some skin types to safely synthesize enough vitamin D from the sun alone.

For those who are not exposed to sufficient sunlight based on where they live or the environment in which they work, a sunlight lamp is necessary. It is also a safe means for increasing essential sun exposure.

Remember to always consult your doctor before use!

Don’t use sunlight lamps if you have the following:

  • existing skin cancers
  • lupus
  • diabetes
  • connective tissue damage, etc.

How Sunlight Lamps Help Your Circadian Rhythm?

image explaining how circadian rhythm works
Source: carex.com website

Bright light therapy is an effective treatment for certain sleep-wake disturbances, including insomnia.

Certain sleep disorders, jet lag, and shift work done by hospital staff can upset your circadian rhythm.

This is the “internal clock” that helps you be alert during daytime hours and sleep at night.

When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, it can cause insomnia and extreme fatigue. It can also interfere with essential body functions that depend on the sleep-wake cycle, such as digestion, certain brain functions, and various healing types.

Exposure to artificial light from a sunlight lamp during certain times of the day can help realign your circadian rhythms and improve your sleep-wake cycle.

How to Choose and Properly Use A Sunlight Desk Lamp

  1. To ensure you get the best results from a sunlight desk lamp, the light needs to enter your eyes indirectly. This means your eyes should be open, but just as with regular sunlight, you should avoid looking directly at the light.

  2. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the best time to use a sunlight lamp for light therapy is in the morning.

  3. To achieve optimal therapeutic effect from a sunlight lamp, it must have an intensity of 10,000 lux (10,000 lumens per sq foot). That is 9,900 more lux than the average household light. Sunlight lamps are available in different intensities.

  4. It should be placed on a table or desk between 16 and 24 inches away from your face to properly use the lamp. Try to sit in front of the light for 20 to 30 minutes (or as directed by your doctor) at the same time each day.

It is essential to remember that sunlight lamps filter out most of the ultraviolet light, making them safer than other lamps. Using the wrong type of lamp could damage your eyes and cause other adverse side effects. 

Reviews of the 7 Best Sunlight Desk Lamps

1. Sunlight Lamp For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - Miroco UV Light Therapy Lamp

white miroco sunlight desk lamp

Compact, portable, and easy to use. This micro UV light therapy lamp fits anywhere in your home, where you could use a little extra sunlight.

With its foldable, highly portable design, this sunlight lamp can easily fit in your suitcase or briefcase for maximum mobility.

  • Full Spectrum Light: This light therapy desk lamp delivers bright light at up to the recommended 10,000 lux to provide you with a daily dose of sunshine during those months when darkness comes a little earlier and lingers a little longer. The included LED light is UV free, ensuring your eyes are safe and the light does not emit radiation.

  • Built-in Timer: Re-energize yourself without having to worry about watching the clock. The Micro UV light comes with a programmable timer with intervals ranging from 10-60 minutes and one-touch timer cancellation.
     
  • Portable Design: This desk light is compact and foldable, allowing for easy transport throughout your home, office, or on vacation.
Pros
Cons
Provides 10,000 lux
Plastic Light Housing
UV Safe
One Color Temperature available
3 Brightness Levels
Small Light Area
Built-in Timer
Portable

2. Sunlight Lamp For Reading and Crafts - Lavish Home

goose neck type sunlight lamp by Lavish Home

If you are looking for a light that provides natural light for you to read or work on craft projects, this is the light for you.

This sunlight lamp provides bright, natural light that makes it easier to see fine details of text and projects while reducing eye strain commonly experienced with traditional light bulbs. 

  • It provides bright, natural light that helps reduce eye stress while working on projects or reading. The 150-watt bulb provides similar light to what is found on a sunny day. Perfect for art projects, reading, and working.
     
  • Multidirectional neck: The lamp features an adjustable neck allowing for the light’s simple movement to a location that is ideal for you. This lamp is easy to use with one simple on/off switch located at the base.
     
  • Comes in several colors: This lamp is available in seven different finishes ensuring it can match the décor in any room in your home or home office. 
Pros
Cons
Mimics Natural Sunlight
Only One Light Setting
Simple to Use On/Off Function
Bulb Does not Reach 10,000 Lux Output
Adjustable Neck
Not LED
Multiple Colors

3. Best for Circadian Rhythm (Sleep-Wake Cycle) - Verilux HappyLight VT20

white tall verilux therapy lamp

The Verilux HappyLight is a full-size light therapy lamp that mimics sunlight. It is using full-spectrum light up to 10,000 lux to enhance mood, energy, focus, and sleep without exposure to UV rays from the sun.

The HappyLight provides customizable light and brightness levels with an extra-large lens for a fully customizable experience. 

  • Extra-large lens: the HappyLight features an extra-large 41 square inch lens making it larger than many competitors. Through this lens, the HappyLight provides up to 10,000 Lux. The lens is tiltable to allow for optimum, comfortable use anywhere that is comfortable.
     
  • Interchangeable lenses: This light therapy lamp comes with two interchangeable lenses (high energy and comfort Optix glare-control) for reduced eye fatigue and strain. It also has two programmable brightness levels for maximum comfort.

  • Stand or wall mount: The unit comes with a stand for use on a counter, bedside table, or desk, or it can be mounted to the wall in the room where you use it most. 
Pros
Cons
Extra-large Display
13-Inch-Tall Light May Be Too Large for Some
UV Free, Full Spectrum Light
Heavier than Some Competitors
Provides up to 10,000 Lux
Highly Customizable
Different Mounting Options

4. Sunlight Lamp For Depression - Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0

silver adjustable sunlight desk lamp by circadian optics

This lamp provides symmetry with minimalism. It’s highly versatile design fits well in any workspace. Possibly the number one sun lamp for windowless office.

While most lights are white or ivory in color, this lamp arrives in a matte textured grey, setting it apart from a sea of traditional designs. Its small base footprint ensures it fits nicely on the corner of your desk or on your nightstand. 

  • Adjustable main light panel: The Circadian Optics Lumos features a rotating light panel. This allows you to position and direct the lamp in a way that maximizes your light therapy needs. Quick, easy, one-touch operation makes it simple to use without the hassle of complicated programming or settings.

     

  • Three light levels: Three pre-programmed light levels allow you to customize your light’s brightness to ensure optimal effects and comfort. This sunlight lamp provides the recommended 10,000 Lux brightness needed to help fight off the winter blues and boost mood.

     

  • Longer lasting LED Bulbs: The LED bulbs provided with the Lumos 2.0 last approximately 50,000 hours. This is many times longer than fluorescent bulbs and likely means they will never need replacing. 
Pros
Cons
Highly Adjustable and Customizable
Only Available in One Color
3 Pre-programmed Light Levels
14 inch Height May Hinder Placement Options
Provides 10,000 Lux
Longer Lasting LED Bulbs
Simple One-touch Operation

5. Best for Tasks - Z-Bar Gen 3 Desk/Task Lamp

black adjustable task lamp by z bar

The Koncept Z-Bar Gen 3 Desk/Task Lamp provides infinite flexibility in contemporary or restrictive workspaces.

This lamp accommodates a dimmer with a touch strip located near the Head for easy access. It’s innovative; the three-bar design allows for unlimited lighting positions and options. 

  • Extra-long power cord: The Z-Bar Gen 3 lamp comes with an extra-long 108″ (9 feet) power cord, ensuring you can always place the light where you want, regardless of an outlet location.

  • 3 flexible bar design: The lamp is adjustable in multiple ways. The Head itself can rotate and spin to accommodate any visual need. The 3-bar design allows the lamp to stretch or fold depending on your needs. At Full extension, the lamp head can reach an impressive 33.8 inches. With multiple mounting options, including wall-mount, table-mount, and table clamp, among many others, this lamp is the definition of convenient.

  • Long-Lasting LED Bulbs: Integrated LED bulbs provide three different lighting settings, including warm and cool options. LED bulbs provide up to 50,000 hours of use before requiring replacement.
Pros
Cons
Highly Adjustable and Customizable
Plastic Light Components
Extra-long Power Cord
Dimmer Capable
Multiple Mounting Options
LED Bulbs

6. Best for Tasks - Pixo Plus

silver pixo task lamp

The Pixo Plus Task Lamp was designed for movement. It features a rotating arm and a rotating head, allowing you to direct its warm and bright light where you need it most.

Featuring a USB port for charging mobile devices and a standard dimmer switch integrated into the head unit, this task lamp defines flexibility. 

  • The Pixo Plus Task Lamp Features both a rotating arm and shade. The lamp and shade can turn 360°, as can the arm allowing for the utmost flexibility. The arm can also rotate a full 180° enabling you to get light into those places where you need it most.

  • USB port for charging mobile devices comes equipped with a convenient USB port for charging devices, including mobile phones, iPods, keyboards, etc. The base also features a wireless charging port for mobile phones and other devices compatible with wireless charging technology.

  • Available in multiple colors: the lamp is available in various colors ranging from white and silver to black and shades of blue.
Pros
Cons
Rotating Head and Arm
Narrow Base May Not Accommodate Larger Wireless Devices
Long-Lasting LED Bulbs
USB Charging Port and Wireless Charging Base
Dimmer Capable
Available in Multiple Colors

7. Best for Tasks - Kelvin LED Green Mode

black flos kelvin designer task lamp with adjustable arm

The Flos Kelvin Green Mode Task Lamp Features a rotating head and a rotating arm, allowing exceptional flexibility.

Touch on-off sensors on the Head as well as daylight monitors and light sensors automatically adjust the light output to the brightness of the work surface. Integrated motion sensors ensure the light does not get left on when it’s not necessary. 

  • Rotating Head and arm: This versatile task lamp features a head that rotates 355 degrees and an arm capable of rotating up to 360 degrees. They can be placed at a vertical angle reaching up to 18 inches from the desk surface in addition to its rotational capabilities.

  • Self-adjusting light: daylight in motion sensors automatically adjust the light output to the surface’s brightness, ensuring reduced glare and reduced strain on the eyes.

  • Motion Sensor: In addition to automated lighting adjustment, integrated motion centers also ensure that the light does not remain on when it’s not being used.
Pros
Cons
Adjustable, Rotating Head and Arm
Price Varies Based on Color Choice
Optical and Motion Sensors
Available in Multiple Finishes
Made with Non-Toxic Paint and Recycled Materials

Frequently Asked Questions

Do sunlight lamps work?

Sunlamps positively impact the body’s regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps control the sleep-wake cycle. Besides, they also help to regulate the mood by affecting serotonin levels in the body.

Many believe that bright light therapy is now considered a first-line treatment for SAD.

Do sunlamps give you vitamin D?

Sunlamps do not necessarily “give” your body vitamin D.

The lamps emit lighting similar to that of natural sunlight, thus encouraging the skin to produce vitamin D. This is especially beneficial during winter months when natural sunlight is unable to produce enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs. 

What does Light therapy do for the skin?

When used consistently, over time, the LED lights used in sunlight therapy lamps are thought to penetrate the skin at varying depths, resulting in various skin reactions.

These reactions can include fighting acne-causing bacteria, pumping the skin, and reducing wrinkles. This is possible as the skin uses the light as a source of energy to repair and rejuvenate damaged cells. 

How many hours of light should I get from the sunlight lamp?

You should sit in front of a sunlamp for 20 to 30 minutes each day around the same time. This time frame is considered safe and standard for most sunlamp use.

However, you should not exceed the time recommended by the manufacturer or your primary care provider.

Before using a sunlamp or similar product, you should always contact your medical provider to ensure that the item is right for you to use.

What kind of bulbs are used in a sunlight lamp?

The bulbs used in sunlight lamps are also known as full-spectrum light bulbs.

They are specifically designed LED light bulbs that mimic sunlight, similar to the solar spectrum’s visible section. In other words, they produce a light similar to that of natural sunlight.

Unlike some other lights, they have minimal or no amounts of ultraviolet or infrared rays, which allows them to imitate the sunlight spectrum more precisely.

Traditional household bulbs are not safe to use in sunlight lamps.

External Links:

Author Bio:

Anisha Rao

Anisha Rao

Anisha Rao, MPP is passionate about mental and public health and improving access to affordable and quality care.
She is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Healthcare Professional who has consulted over 500 clients. She also passionately creates content to inform readers about products, services, and resources that may help them live their best lives.

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