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Light therapy is often used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), other types of depression, and sleep problems. (Learn more from Mayo Clinic.)
Our research, however, is limited only to determining light therapy's effectiveness for improving sleep.
Based on the experiences of over 290 people who tried light therapy to attain better sleep, 78% report at least some benefit. Benefits include – but are not necessarily limited to – waking up less throughout the night, sleeping more efficiently, enjoying better sleep quality, and falling asleep faster (thus treating DSPD - delayed sleep-phase disorder*).
Our research shows that light therapy has potential to help anyone experiencing sleep problems. However, it appears to be especially effective for people who are not exposed to much sunlight, such as those living in northern latitudes or those who work nights.
Light therapy consists of a person sitting or working near a light therapy lamp or box for several minutes a day. This device produces bright light similar to natural outdoor light.
The table below includes light therapy boxes / lamps (in alphabetical order) that rate highest for their sleep benefits based on actual user experiences. A sample size is made up of people who use the product only or mainly for the purpose of sleeping better.
|Carex||Lightphoria Light System||NatureBright Lamp||Philips BLU Light Therapy Device||Verilux Sunshine Simulator|
|% of Users Reporting Improved Sleep|
|Distinguishing Advantage Or Trait|
|stand mounted||small size||optional negative ionizer||blue light • clock • can run on batteries||wall mountable • heavy|
|no||15, 30, 45 minutes||15, 30, 45, 60 minutes||1-60 minutes||no|
|Multiple Intensity Levels|
(% of users)
|odor (1.6%) • defective / broke (1.4%)||defective / broke (3.1%) • too small (2%) • headache (1%)||defective / broke (3.5%) • headache (1%)||concerns about blue light (7%) • battery not replaceable (3.1%)||defective / broke (3.8%)|
|Dimensions / Weight|
|4" deep x 21" wide x 16" tall / 1 lbs||1" deep x 6" wide x 6.5" tall / 1 lbs||6" deep x 9" wide x 13" tall / 1 lbs||7" x 7" x 7" / 1.1 lbs||5.1" deep x 16.7" wide x 22" tall / 9 pounds|
* Delayed sleep-phase disorder (DSPD) causes sleep to be delayed by several hours of one's desired bedtime. People with the disorder are often unable to fall asleep until after midnight which can make waking up the next morning and being alert during the day difficult.
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