If you have shopped around for a good light therapy lamp for a while you’ll notice that there are a lot things to keep in mind. A quick browse online for products will result in a multitude of different lamps and designs and it is really hard to figure out what to look for in the beginning. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find a good match for your needs.
I consider these points to be the most important
- How much light does the lamp produce?
- What is the size of the product?
- Is the light comfortable?
- What kind of light source is used?
- Are previous customers happy with the product?
- What is the general quality of the product?
How much light does the lamp produce?
To be effective for light therapy the light that reaches your eyes from the lamp should have a minimum intensity of 2500 lux. Most light therapy lamps are marketed as having an output of 10 000 lux which sounds like well in excess. However the measured light intensity diminishes very quickly with the distance from the light source.
What really matters here is the light intensity at the distance at which you will be using the lamp. If you place the lamp on your desk the distance to your eyes is likely somewhere around 1.5 feet or 45 cm. The measured light intensity quoted by the manufacturer or seller of the product is typically measured at a far closer distance. Sometimes as close as 1/3 of a feet or 10 cm. You really don’t want to sit and stare straight into a lamp at this distance!
Make sure that the product that you are buying meets the criteria of a minimum output of 2500 lux at a distance of 1 feet or 30 cm.
What is the size of the product?
First of all, make sure to check the actual size of the lamp. It’s easy to get fooled by the apparent size based on a product image.
Before buying, decide on how and where you will use the product.
A larger lamp means a larger illuminated area, which means that it is many times easier to find a comfortable position in which the light is illuminating your eyes properly. On the other hand a larger lamp is also harder to accommodate on a desk for example and will take up more space in general. Smaller lamps, especially LED based one’s are perfect for travel but you do need to make sure that you can use them in a comfortable position. Keep in mind that you will need to face the lamp for 20 min or more each day if you are going to see stable improvements in the quality of your sleep.
Is the light comfortable?
This is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind when buying a light therapy lamp but also easily overlooked. The strong light from the lamp will irritate your eyes if it’s emitted directly from the lamp without passing through a cover that softens and diffuses the light. It’s hard to give general guidelines regarding this issue since every person will have their own preference, but make sure to buy a lamp with good reviews to minimise the risk of a bad experience.
Make sure that the lamp that you are buying have settings for different light levels. This helps you get accustomed to the lamp if your eyes are easily irritated.
What kind of light source is used?
Modern light therapy lamps typically uses LED based lights while older lamps uses fluorescent tubes or even light bulbs in some cases. LED based products are generally care free with a very long life span. They are however also slightly more expensive in some cases, when comparing the light output to the price. Fluorescent tube based lights tend to have very good light output but the fluorescent tube will have a limited life span. In most cases the tubes can be replaced without too much of a problem but that still means that the level of maintenance is higher than compared to LED lights. Fluorescent tubes are also more sensitive to damage and more likely to break in case of an accident. LED lights are smaller and emit less heat in general which means that the overall size of the lamp is smaller and more portable.
Are previous customers happy with the product?
As always when you are using reviews to estimate the quality of a product, make sure that a large number of customers are recommending the product. These days paid reviews sometimes make it harder to trust reviews from a limited number of customers. Read reviews from a number of different sources and make sure that any concerns that you may have are covered in the review.
What is the general quality of the product?
First of all, make sure to buy a product with good reviews from a well know manufacturer. Many of the cheaper lamps from less well-known sources will look good on paper but suffer from problems such as overheating or a limited light source life span. They also generally lacks the ability to adjust the light and the actual light output tends to be too low, which means that you won’t see any improvements in your sleep quality!