Seasonal Depression Got You Down? These Highly Rated Light Boxes Could Help You Out

These light boxes are UV-free and offer 10,000 lux of light.
These light boxes are UV-free and offer 10,000 lux of light. / Verilux/Amazon
This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Although spring is on the horizon, we’re still in the doldrums of winter for at least a few more weeks. Sunlight is still on short order these days, and many folks might be feeling the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a result. According to the Mayo Clinic, a really good light box can be an effective way to cope with this type of depression

A light box is made to give a dose of bright light that mimics the sunlight during the winter when days are shorter. Enter the Verilux HappyLight, a light box that fits the Mayo Clinic’s standards for this type of therapeutic device. It’s also currently on sale on Amazon for $54, or $26 off the usual $80 price when you use the on-page coupon—that’s a savings of nearly 35 percent.

The Verilux HappyLight is a full-sized light box that’s 12.5 inches tall and 6.25 inches wide, so it’s ideal for kitchen countertops, bedroom nightstands, and desktops. It’s ultra-violet (UV)-free and emits 10,000 lux of illumination, which aligns with the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations for a light box. In addition, it comes with two interchangeable lenses for different moods (high energy and comfort), a detachable stand, and wall mount.

Woman on a yoga mat using a Verilux HappyLight light therapy box.
The Mayo Clinic recommends using one when you first wake up, and not staring directly into the light. / Verilux/Amazon

The best time to use a light box is within the first hour of waking up in the morning for about 20 to 30 minutes. Just place it between 16 and 24 inches away from your face without looking directly into the light. Use it while drinking a cup of coffee, or reading a book or newspaper in the morning. After a few weeks (sometime even days) of use, you could see a positive change in your mood and energy levels.

Want something smaller? The Verilux HappyLight Lucent is about 8.6 inches tall and it’s on sale for $40, or $5 off its $45 list price. Like the full-sized option, it provides exposure to 10,000 lux of illumination and is completely UV-light free. You can also check out more Verilux HappyLight boxes at the company’s Amazon store, too.

As useful as a light box can be for managing SAD, the Mayo Clinic notes that light boxes aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet. It’s also recommended that you consult a therapist or trusted healthcare provider for additional support, as light boxes may not be ideal for everyone. You can read more about SAD and light box therapy here.