Best SAD lamps for light therapy treatment at home

Help to give your mood a little boost in the darker months.

SAD lamps

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

Seasonal Affective Disorder can be experienced by anyone at any time of year, but its effects are generally felt more during the colder, darker months of the year. The reduced number of daylight hours and the lack of sunshine can have a severe effect on your energy and mood. This is why you need the best SAD lamps to help lift your spirits and improve your general sense of wellbeing. The light produced by SAD lamps is designed to simulate the sunlight that's missing during the gloomy seasons of the year.

What causes SAD?

The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is not yet fully understood, but it is often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight, which is why people tend to experience SAD more during autumn and winter when the days are shorter.

The main theory is that the lack of sunlight stops a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly, affecting the production of melatonin and serotonin and the function of your body's internal clock.

People with SAD may have higher levels of melatonin so they'll feel more sleepy and lower serotonin levels which are linked to feelings of depression.

It is also possible that you may be more vulnerable to experiencing SAD as a result of your genes as some cases appear to run in families.

How to tell if you might be experiencing SAD

The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of depression, which the NHS lists as the following:

• Persistent low mood

• Loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities

• Feeling irritable

• Experiencing feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

• Low self-esteem

• Tearfulness

• Feeling stressed or anxious

• Reduced sex drive

• Becoming less sociable

In addition to these symptoms, you may experience some of the below if you have SAD:

• Be less active than normal

• Feel lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

• Sleep for longer than normal and find it hard to get up in the morning

• Find it difficult to concentrate

• Have an increased appetite – some people have a particular craving for foods containing lots of carbohydrates and end up gaining weight as a result

Best SAD lamps to relieve symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Experiencing light therapy from a SAD lamp for between 30 minutes and one hour a day is thought to improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the amount of melatonin your body is making and increase the production of serotonin instead. If you want to give it a go for yourself or know someone who would appreciate a lamp as a gift, we've rounded up all the best SAD lamps below.

Best SAD alarm clock

Wake up gently for the day ahead using this alarm. It slowly brightens 30 minutes before your alarm time so you can have a soothing start to the day. It's got dimmable light settings and there's an option for mood lighting with six different colours to choose from.

Review: "I bought this as I sometimes struggle to get up during the dark mornings and I have to say it really does help me feel better. The light comes on gently half an hour before the alarm goes off and slowly gets brighter. I have placed the clock facing away from me and it still lights up the room. I am very happy with it as it is very easy to set up and use. There are several sounds to wake up to. Initially I chose the bird song but it drove the cat crazy!! Good price during the Black Friday deals too."


  • Five optional wake-up sounds or a beep
  • Has light settings for reading, sunset, and sunrise


  • Some reviewers felt that the light was too bright on the lowest setting

Flexible usage
Beurer TL41 Touch Daylight Therapy Light
Price: £60 (was £79.99)

With a press of a button, this UV-free light will shine at an intensity of 10,000 lux, designed to replicate the light from the sun on a summer's day. It can stand freely on desks or be hung from your walls.

Review: "I've found this to be effective for improving my mood in winter. The lamp has a clean look, it's lightweight making it easy to move, and the touch switch is easy to use."


  • Energy-saving LED technology
  • Easy to operate


  • Some reviewers felt it was pricey

Best slim SAD lamp

The slim design and relatively large screen make the Vitamin L as convenient as it is powerful. You can place it to one side while you're having breakfast, reading, or even sitting at your desk working and it'll still work its magic to recharge your internal battery within 30 minutes.

Review: "I’ve ordered the cheaper none branded SAD lamps before and all have been sent back as not as bright as claimed. This Lumie is brilliant, bright and stays bright! This has been the only lamp to help improve my SAD without it these grey dull months would be harder to handle. I use first thing before getting out of bed and it makes it feels like I am waking up on a sunny morning! Brilliant product highly recommend!"


  • Can be sat in portrait or landscape position
  • Portable and lightweight


  • Some reviewers were expecting it to be bigger

Recommended SAD lamp

Combat symptoms of SAD with this neat and compact lamp. It will sit discreetly on any desk or sideboard and comes with a protective pouch so you can take it with you if you need a pick-me-up when you're out and about.

Review: "Google as much as you want, but the simple fact is that this works for improving mood and alertness; not just in the mornings but throughout the day. A bit of self love, look after yourself and get this to boost your daytime routine."


  • UV-free and flicker-free light
  • Comes with a clip-on stand


  • Some reviewers mentioned the light is too bright when first turned on

Nicely designed SAD lamp

This lamp will beautifully blend in with your home décor. It's got three light modes so you can set it to feature white, warm, or natural lights so you can adjust it to your needs. With the memory function, the light remembers your previous brightness settings and has a built-in timer to switch off automatically.

Review: "I looked at several lamp therapy lights for SAD. I preferred this one as it is a proper lamp that can stand on any surface and look like a lamp. Many of the other lamps look like ipads, just a flat screen to look at. Easy to operate, so should be good for my mum to operate! Not too heavy to handle. I like it."


  • Three different light settings
  • Adjustable brightness


  • Some people may not like the plastic look of the lamp

Best SAD crystal lamp

One for crystal lovers, this lamp will certainly add warmth to your home while offering you some relief from your SAD symptoms.

Review: "The recipient of this gift was very happy. The lamp is a good, small, compact size so it fits easily on a work desk or night table. Very happy with my purchase :)"


  • Has a dimmer feature


  • Dispatches from the United States so may take longer to arrive

Modern SAD lamp

We love the sleek and stylish look of this black and copper SAD lamp. The adjustable brightness and colour temperature will help to improve your mood, energy levels, focus, and performance.

Review: "I was very impressed by this lamp. Not only functional but looks really cool as well! I use it daily - too soon to know the long term impact, but I'm sure it will have a beneficial effect."


  • Helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle
  • Has day and evening modes


  • An expensive option

Medically approved SAD lamp
Lifemax Lifelight Sad Therapy Lamp
Price: £60 (was £100)

Featuring 10-stage dimming and a four-stage timer, this light will supplement your daily intake of light all while being controlled by three easy-to-use buttons.


  • Helps you to achieve the recommended daily dose of light
  • Has many adjustable settings


  • No reviews yet

Best SAD lamps FAQs

Does light therapy work to treat SAD?

Although there's mixed evidence on how effective light therapy is to treat SAD, there are some studies that have shown that using a SAD lamp first thing in the morning can help lessen the effects. Most people using a SAD lamp noticed an improvement in their symptoms within a week or so. Light therapy lamps are designed to produce a short-term result, so although you may feel relief, it won't cure your SAD so you can still be affected by it in the future.

How can you treat SAD?

As well as using a SAD lamp, there are other things you can do to relieve SAD symptoms at home.

• Try to get as much natural sunlight as possible

• Ensure your home environments are light and airy

• Sit near windows when you're indoors

• Enjoy regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight

• Eat a healthy, balanced diet

• Take steps to manage stress

If you feel like you need further help to manage your symptoms, we would recommend speaking to your GP. They will be able to suggest the most suitable treatment for you, such as psychosocial treatments or prescribing antidepressants.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us