Sun Lamps 101: Your Q&A Guide to Sun Lamps

by Melissa Chichester

Depending on where you live, it might be hard to get enough exposure to natural sunlight during certain times of the year.

When combined with hectic schedules, demanding routines, and limited exposure to natural sunlight, we need to get creative.

One increasingly popular avenue is the use of sun lamps, a tool designed to bring some of the benefits of sunlight into our daily lives. Light exposure influences our mood, sleep patterns, and overall health. Let’s check out some frequently asked questions about what sun lamps can do. 

What are sun lamps?

Sun lamps, also known as light therapy lamps or light boxes, are devices designed to mimic the natural sunlight that we often miss during gloomy days or in regions with limited sunlight exposure. These lamps emit bright light that simulates sunlight.

Do sun lamps help with Vitamin D levels?

While sun lamps are effective in elevating mood and assisting with maintaining the sleep-wake cycle, they are not a direct source of Vitamin D. The ultraviolet (UV) rays responsible for Vitamin D synthesis are not present in most sun lamps. If your goal is to support Vitamin D levels, it’s advisable to spend time outdoors in natural sunlight or consider a Vitamin D supplement.

>>How to Get Enough Vitamin D in the Winter

What time of day should I use a sun lamp?

It is generally recommended to use the lamp in the morning. Morning light exposure helps support the circadian rhythm, promoting alertness during the day and better sleep at night. 

What kind of sun lamp should I use?

Choosing the right sun lamp involves considering factors such as light intensity, color temperature, and the type of light emitted. Full-spectrum light, which closely resembles natural sunlight, is preferable. 

Also consider the size and design of the lamp, especially if you plan to use it at home or in the office. A portable and adjustable lamp allows for flexibility in positioning and usage. User-friendly features such as adjustable brightness levels and timer functions are other considerations for personal preference. 

Asking a healthcare professional for a sun lamp recommendation may help you decide on the best fit for your needs. 

How long should I use a sun lamp?

Typically, 20-30 minutes of exposure in the morning is sufficient for most individuals. However, the ideal duration may vary based on your needs and response to the sun lamp. 

A sun lamp can be a valuable addition to your self-care toolkit. Incorporating sun lamp therapy into your daily routine, coupled with other healthy lifestyle choices, can contribute to a balanced life. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting light therapy, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications that may interact with light exposure.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.