Seasonal Affective Disorder and Light Therapy

Bring On The Healthy Light

So, summer is quickly coming to an end. The sun goes up earlier and you find yourself working most of the day without getting any exposure natural sunlight. If lack of sunlight causes or contributes to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), then getting more light must help reverse it, right?

Bright light, specifically 10,000 lux works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. This has been proven to have a profound impact on how you feel, your energy levels and how you sleep. Activating the hypothalamus at a specific time daily can help restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus reduce and even banish seasonal depression symptoms. 

To best understand seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), we must understand the symptoms that come along with not getting enough sunlight.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms may start in the fall and continue far into the winter months, sapping your energy and mood. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

You may brush-off how you feel as a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk, but it is most certainly more than that. This isn't something that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

Possible signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Light Therapy Lamps

  • Mimic sunlight with bright artificial light
  • Used for prolonged periods to light a room or work space
  • Also called bright light therapy, light boxes, SAD lamps, and happy lights
  • Used for SAD, seasonal depression, and lighting a dark room
  • May positively affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep [1]
  • Have shown a positive effect on people with depression in some clinical trials [2]

How Does Light Therapy Work?

Light therapy entails sitting close to a Kala light source for at leased 30 minutes a day, generally as soon after waking up as possible. You can optimize the effects of this treatment if performed within a dark room.

This specially engineered light source provides 10,000 lux (“lux” is a measure of light intensity). For reference, the Kala Therapy Lamp is about 100 times brighter than any usual indoor light; a super bright, sunny day is 50,000 lux or more. 

How is The Kala Therapy Lamp Different?

Kala's unconventional design was created over 2 years and countless hours of engineering. Kala designed a multifunctional light lamp that can be used to improve mood, energy, well-being am-to-pm, all year round.

Proven to simulate the sun with three-adjustable colour temperatures and dimming features. With a reduced-blue light content in evening mode, you can feel rested and recovered with promoted rest.

You will feel the luminous glow of 98% natural sunlight with our broad-radius design. You don't have to cuddle up too close to our device as the effects can be seen from up to 24" away.

Kala's unconventional circular design is engineered to bring a full radius of therapeutic light so you can absorb the light even from up to 24" away. While other light boxes are made of plastic and sometimes contain toxic materials, the Kala Therapy Lamp is 100% safe and effective. You can truly feel the calming difference of a Kala Therapy Lamp, guaranteed.

Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and certain other conditions with direct exposure to artificial light. The Kala Therapy Lamp mimics sunlight to 98%, the highest imitation on the market. This ensures the light from the Kala Therapy Lamp provides enough natural outdoor sunlight that you need, even in the gloomy, winter months.

With the touch of a button, you can seamlessly improve your SAD symptoms and light up your day.

Light for Everyone?

Even though the risk of eye damage from bright light is extremely low, anyone with diabetes (which can damage the retina) or pre-existing eye disease should check with a doctor before trying light therapy or any medical treatments.

However, for the vast majority of people, light therapy is a safe, non-invasive way to improve mood, increase energy, reset sleep cycles and feel their best. No doctors script is needed to purchase The Kala Lamp or any light source.

Light Therapy Uses

Light therapy is used as a treatment for several conditions, including:

  • SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
  • Types of depression that don't occur seasonally
  • Jet lag
  • Sleep disorders
  • Adjusting to a nighttime work schedule
  • Dementia
  • Poor mood and energy levels

How Do You Prepare?

Although you don't need a prescription to buy a Kala Therapy Lamp, it's always suggested that you ask your doctor or mental health provider if light therapy is a good option for you.

Ask whether you need to take any special precautions. Kala's Therapy Lamp was designed so you can get the most benefit and minimize possible side effects from poorly designed light boxes that may not be effective or bright enough.

What You Can Expect

Generally, most people with seasonal affective disorder begin to feel relief after just a few hours of using the Kala Therapy Lamp. Most clients begin usage in the early fall, when it typically becomes cloudy or dark in many regions of the country. 

If you typically have less energy, moodiness and gloomy thoughts during fall and winter, you may notice symptoms during prolonged periods of cloudy or rainy weather during other seasons. You and your doctor can adjust your light usage treatments based on the timing and duration of your symptoms.

If you want to try light therapy for nonseasonal depression or another condition, talk to your doctor about how light therapy can be most effective for other conditions such as skin-health, sleep, hair-growth, energy and so much more. Our Kala Red Light Therapy devices are amazing for these other benefits. You can find them here and learn more about the benefits of Kala Red Light Therapy here.

How Do I Use it?

During your Kala Therapy Lamp sessions, you may sit or work near your Kala Therapy Lamp. We suggest using it within a dark room for between 30-minutes to 2-hours every morning. To be as effective as possible, light from the ring must enter your eyes indirectly. You can't get the same effect merely by exposing your skin to the light. 

While your eyes must be open, don't look directly at the light source. The bright light can damage your eyes. Be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations and the user manual treatment guidelines. Essentially, as long as the light is facing you, you are receiving the amazing benefits. Similar to the sun, you do not need to look directly in it to receive the therapeutic benefits known as heliotherapy. 

Light therapy requires time and consistency. While you may start to feel better shortly after use, Kala suggests consistent daily use for the duration of the winter months. You may set your Kala Therapy Lamp on a table or desk in your home or office. Stick to a consistent usage schedule and no need to overdue it!

Not to mention, it provides a beautiful glow for all your work-from-home Zoom calls. Client may even commend you for how your skin is glowing!

Four Key Elements for Effectiveness

Light therapy is most effective when you have the proper combination of light intensity, duration, timing and quality.

  • Intensity: The intensity of the light box is recorded in lux, which is a measure of the amount of light you receive. For SAD, our 10,000-lux ring light can be used at a distance of about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from your face.
  • Duration: Kala suggests daily sessions every morning in a dark setting for 30-minutes to 20-hours. Start with 30-minutes and ease into longer sessions as you see fit.
  • Timing: For most people, light therapy is most effective when it's done early in the morning, after you first wake up. Your doctor can help you determine the light therapy schedule that works best.
  • Quality: Kala Therapy Lamp is of the highest quality. Designed with an unconventionally wide-radius to help provide the glow of 10,000 lux from a greater distance than generic plastic light boxes. With 3-built in colour temperatures and adjustable dimming settings, you can truly find the perfect temperature for any season, any time of the day.

Check out our Kala Therapy Lamp here to see why 2000+ clients rely on us for their SAD needs.

 [1]  Light Therapy. Mayo Clinic.  

[2]  Lam RW, Levitt AJ, Levitan RD, Enns MW, Morehouse R, Michalak EE, Tam EM. The Can-SAD study: a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of light therapy and fluoxetine in patients with winter seasonal affective disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May;163(5):805-12.