What Is Light Therapy and Is It Right For You?

It gets pitch black by 5:30 pm in May, July & July, and that has hundreds of thousands of Australians feeling the winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Kristy Bertenshaw
3 min readMay 27, 2022


In the darkness, let there be light. SAD lamps, a rather.

In this writer’s research into what combats SAD, I currently do pretty much everything I’ve uncovered, except using light therapy. How about you?
Let’s learn what light therapy is exactly, and whether it’s worth the investment of time and money.

What is a SAD Lamp?

A SAD lamp uses light therapy to replicate sunlight, trick the body into thinking it is the warmer months, and trigger the body to release serotonin.
The science is solid—apparently, they work.
There is so much written on this; here’s the low down to help you choose if light therapy is for you and which lamp to choose ⤵

👇 Key Resources

What Is Light Therapy and Is It Right For You?
LED Light Therapy vs. Red Light Therapy: A Comparison
Red Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder
How to choose a lightbox
The Best SAD Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder & How to Use Them
After 75 Days of Testing, These Are the Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2022

Typical recommendations on how to use a SAD Lamp

When? Within the first hour of waking up in the morning
Duration? For about 20 to 30 minutes
Proximity? Approx 40–60cm away from your face (follow the manufacturer’s instructions re: proximity)
How? With eyes open but not looking directly at the light.

Decision Criteria Basics

How bright is it? Usually, the recommended intensity of light is 10,000 lux.
How much UV light does it release? UV Free & SAD specific
What style? The effectiveness of the lamp depends on implementation daily use, remembering it needs to be used within an hour of waking up ideally.
My practice: I work out first thing, so I will need to use it immediately after that—either reading or at my laptop.
Location, location, location: For those of us Downunder, I found loads of options overseas, but I didn’t find many at a price I wanted to invest locally that could arrive in the next few days—before winter.
My Choice: Blancka SAD Lamp Portable; the reviews are mixed; however, Amazon has a wonderful return policy, so if there are any issues, I’m certain I can return this and purchase something else.

Aussie Stats on Depression & Anxiety

In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Around 1 million Australian adults have depression in any given year, and over 2 million have anxiety. A sunny day may do more than boost your mood — it may increase levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. Studies show that the brain produces more mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days.

The tiniest changes can make the biggest difference when repeated consistently over time. All week I’ve been writing about Seasonal Affective Disorder and one thing you can learn about and implement each day to combat it. Did you buy a SAD lamp? Share what you chose and any results in the comments below. I’ll share my results in a later blog.

What will you choose to implement today? Come back tomorrow for your final actionable insight.



Kristy Bertenshaw

I love to write bite-sized stories, essays & poetry. Revenue Generation & Growth Specialist | Passionate About Using Technology & Storytelling to Drive Results.