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Does Bright Light Therapy treat depression and SAD?

Yes! Bright light therapy is for mild to moderate depression, including Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What should you look for when purchasing a SAD light?

A light box should have the following:

  1. Emit the full spectrum of white light.
  2. Contain a filter that blocks 99% of ultraviolet (UV) light.
  3. Have instructions on how far to position the light from your face
  4. Advertise the strength in lux. 10,000lux units are recommended.

How does a light box treat SAD and mild depression?

A light box is meant to provide you with rays of light that you would normally receive from the sun. Naturally, you want to use your light box in a way that mimics sunlight. Therefore, use your light box in the morning because it emits a high amount of blue light. Blue light is naturally emitted in the highest amount in the morning by the sun.

On the other hand, avoid exposure to blue light in the evening, including cell phones, tablets, computers, and TVs – put a blue light filter on these or wear blue light blocking glasses.

Light therapy should not be used if you have a retinal or macular disease, if you are on medication that causes photosensitivity, or if you are bipolar. Watch the video above to learn more tips on how to use your light box.

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Written by Dr. Lindsey Harding, ND

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