By now, you’ve likely assembled all your winter essentials: You've got the ice scraper for your windshield, a bag of rock salt for the front steps and a whole wardrobe full of cute winter hats. But what about a sun lamp? Also known as a light therapy device, these specialized lamps aim to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of seasonal depression that occurs in the colder months that can be clinically diagnosed and managed with the help of a medical professional—and they may not yet in be your arsenal.
A 2009 National Institutes of Health study published in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development found that just 20 minutes a day spent in front of a sun lamp eased symptoms of depression in patients with SAD, also known as the "winter blues," consequently improving their moods.
Even if you don't have SAD, you can use bright light therapy to resynchronize your body's internal clock to enhance alertness, increase sleep pressure and activate serotonin neurotransmitters, according to research published in a March 2019 issue of Frontiers in Psychiatry, making these lamps an appealing choice for those who regularly feel sluggish, too.