If you deal with sleep issues, depression, and anxiety every winter, you’re not alone. Around five percent of American adults deal with seasonal affective disorder—a mental condition caused by low vitamin D—for up to 40 percent of the year, according to the American Psychiatric Association. But If popping vitamin D supplements every day isn’t putting a dent in your winter blues, adding a sun lamp to your workspace could help you find some relief.
Unlike a typical decorative lamp, sun lamps are designed to mimic natural sunlight, which may boost your vitamin D levels.
“Sunlight interacts with the cholesterol in your skin, which then synthesizes into Vitamin D,” says holistic medicine specialist and doctorate-prepared nurse practitioner JB Kirby, DNP. “Studies have shown that people who are deficient in Vitamin D are also at [a greater] risk of depression and anxiety.”
A 2019 study reports that bright-light therapy is becoming a first-line treatment for seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depression (1). Researchers suspect that light therapy from sun lamps could remedy vitamin D deficiency in people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A small 2009 study found that people with SAD who were exposed to bright light therapy for at least 20 minutes a day at 10,000 lux showed improvement in their symptoms (2).
About the Expert:
Dr. JB Kirby, DNP, is a doctorate-prepared nurse practitioner with 39 years of experience in healthcare. She specializes in a holistic, “whole person,” approach to treating and preventing health issues.
What to Look for in a Sun Lamp for Light Therapy
Sun lamps aren’t FDA-regulated, so you’ll want to consider these specs when picking a sun lamp:
- UV-free: Natural sunlight emits ultraviolet (UV) rays that stimulate vitamin D production, but can also cause skin damage if you don’t apply adequate sun protection. Many brands manufacture UV-free or UV-filtering sun lamps to boost your mood without UV-exposure health risks.
- Size: Sun lamps range from compact and portable to full-size floor lamps. Pick one that best fits your design choice and lifestyle.
- Intensity: Research recommends 10,000 lux to boost vitamin D levels (3). The average household light bulb is just 10 lux.