I live in a tiny, first-floor studio apartment with only two windows flanked by two high-rise buildings on each side, so as you can imagine, my space is utterly devoid of natural light—it’s basically a dungeon accented with some cute home decor pieces. Like many people, my mood and productivity are highly impacted by lighting (or lack thereof) so rather than breaking my year-long lease (I moved in a just a few months ago), I decided to look for alternative options to brighten up my dim space.
When my therapist suggested that I look into light therapy lamps and fixtures, I was admittedly pretty skeptical. It seemed highly implausible that a light bulb or lamp could ever mimic the ambiance-enhancing magical powers we get from actual sunlight. But because I’ve been working from home as of late and barely make it outdoors most days until the evening, I decided it was worth giving them a try.
Light therapy devices work to emulate the appearance of natural light and can help enhance mood and productivity because the bright light they emit stimulates cells in our retina connected to the part of our brain (the hypothalamus) that helps regulate circadian rhythms. The ideal light therapy fixture should offer about 10,000 lux (the level of light intensity), which is far brighter than typical indoor light. For comparison, a sunny day usually measures around 50,000 lux or so. While many use these gadgets for about a half-hour, I tend to leave mine turned on all day while work, take conference calls and the like.
Despite my initial doubt, I have to say that these light boxes really do make a noticeable difference in my productivity, motivation and overall wellbeing for me. I feel more inspired, write faster and just feel better when I have it turned on. Many models are equipped with adjustable settings, allowing you to shift the color and brightness level to your liking. If you’re looking to boost a dingy lighting situation in your space, I’ve rounded up a few solid options to get you out of the dark.
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1. Verilux HappyLight Luxe
Verilux’s “Happy Light” lamp is designed with four adjustable brightness levels, HappyHue functionality, which allows you to choose from three different hues of bright white light, and a countdown timer. This light has completely transformed my apartment from a depressing, dark studio to a bright and cheery home.
2. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp
This stylish, shell-shaped light therapy device features three different brightness settings (40 percent, 60 percent, and 100 percent) and touch control functionality. The best part? It has a memory function that allows you to easily turn on the last setting you used without having to guess.
3. Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
This sleek light therapy device has a rotating light panel for extra flexibility and ease of use. It also offers three settings to allow for customizable brightness levels, depending on the user’s sensitivity to light. It also comes with a two-year warranty and long-lasting LED lights.