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It’s fact: the sun is the ultimate light box. Our bodies are tuned to its rays, and it shows when your location, lifestyle, or just the time of year keeps you in the dark much of the time. Even people not prone to depression get the winter blues when the days grow short and access to sunshine is scarce.
Click here to read user reviews on the Verilux Happy Light.
Psychologists have a name for this: SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. And while a minority of individuals will ever receive an official SAD diagnosis, many more know exactly what it feels like to be starved of light. Sadness, insomnia, low energy, and lack of motivation are among the symptoms.
SAD is a real drag – until you realize that light isn’t such a complicated technology. Couldn’t you simulate natural light and thereby save yourself some unnecessary wintertime grief? You certainly could, and researchers agree that so-called “light therapy” is one of the most effective ways to treat mood issues related to sun deprivation.
That’s the basic idea behind light boxes like the Happy Light by Verilux, designed to treat the winter blues.
The Verilux Happy Light is not the only phototherapeutic light box available to consumers. But it is one of the most popular, so in this review we will take a look at its key features and what makes it a worthy buy for those afflicted with the winter blues. Hopefully this will be one of the most useful Happy Light reviews you read to help you make an informed choice as a consumer. Click here to read user reviews on the Verilux Happy Light.
There are five models of Happy Light offered by Verilux:
Light is light, right? Sort of; a light box’s type—and quality of light emitted—varies. To effectively combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, the rays need to be ‘full-spectrum’ light, meaning the full, natural range of light frequencies is emitted from the source in a continuous spectral power distribution. In this regard, Verilux checks out with its full-spectrum Happy Light.
What about UV ray protection? The Mayo Clinic says that, for health reasons, light boxes need to filter out ultraviolet light. UV rays are harmful to your skin and eyeballs. Fortunately, Happy Lights do filter UV radiation.
A light box’s effectiveness hinges on its “Lux” capacity and range. 10,000 Lux is the standard minimum ‘dose’ needed to ease symptoms in light-deficient users. Most major brands offer boxes that deliver 10,000 Lux to a certain distance, including Verilux with its Deluxe and Liberty 10k Happy Light models.
Caveat emptor: Verilux does market boxes with less than 10,000 Lux for light therapy purposes, which may not effectively combat SAD. The brand’s 6,000-; 5,000-; and 2,500-Lux versions are less expensive, but may not provide the same benefit, at least within a convenient span of time.
The next question, then, is where do you have to be in relation to the light in order to receive your 10k for the day? Keep in mind, you’re not going to be sitting with the box in your lap when you use it, but you will need to be quite close.
For a 10,000-Lux Happy Light, the recommended user range is 6 to 24 inches. But here’s where the fine print gets tricky. The Happy Light Deluxe and Liberty 10k, the sunniest models, provide the 10,000 Lux you need only within the photopic range of 6 to 8 inches. Beyond that, the light is less effective.
For some, 6 to 8 inches is just too close, so evaluate your needs carefully. This is why there are higher-end light boxes; you can always pay for a bigger and brighter light. For many consumers, however, Happy Lights do well enough considering their middle-of-the-road price tag.
Before you buy a box, consider where you’ll put it and whether its area of brightness is within a convenient range for your chosen activity. Most people want a box that provides enough light at a comfortable distance. Happy Lights have an impact zone of not quite two square feet, so you can pop your box on your desk or kitchen table and sunbathe while you read the morning paper or surf the Internet.
The Happy Light’s brightness range is better than many lesser boxes. It’s not the largest available, but is one of the largest for an affordable price, bearing in mind the Lux-related limitations discussed above. Verilux also makes positioning easier by including a table top stand and wall mount for more placement choices.
Size-wise, the Happy Light Liberty 10k has dimensions of 13.5 x 6.25 x 2.12 inches, so it is notably compact for its power output. Because the portable box is diminuitive and lightweight, it would probably fit in your suitcase if you wanted to travel with it.
Another important question is how long do you need to sit with the light box in order to get the intended therapeutic effects? About half an hour will do wonders for most people with SAD, but that benchmark presumes an intensity of 10,000 Lux. A lower Lux output means it will take more time each day to get the full benefit.
Studies show, for instance, that you would have to sit with a 2,500-Lux box for 2 to 6 hours every day to get the same effects as 10,000 Lux for half an hour. For busy folks, less time is better. Thus, the Happy Light Deluxe and Happy Light Liberty 10k models offer the most convenience for the time-strapped consumer.
When you’re shopping for light boxes, you will come across many Verilux Happy Light reviews with minimal substance, gushing about how awesome the product is without stopping to consider the crucial details that make or break buyer satisfaction. In reality, there are important specifications to consider as a light box buyer, including not only Lux levels, but the time and distance limitations imposed on output.
Most Verilux Happy Light reviews conclude that it’s a good product that works for most people. That’s generally true. But keep in mind, everyone is different. Your mileage may vary, and your results will depend on which model of Happy Lamp you buy.
To get the expected mood-enhancing and energizing benefits from your Happy Light – without having to significantly change your lifestyle or go broke – the Happy Light Deluxe and Happy Light Liberty 10k models are a good bet. The average user may not get as much as benefit from the brand’s other models.
Summary: Buyers with less intense phototherapy needs – or a lot of spare time – may prefer one of the less expensive Verilux models. Buyers with a more deep-seated light deficiency – and deeper pockets – may want to upgrade to a pricier, brighter box made by another manufacturer.
All told, the Verilux Happy Light is a popular mid-market option that does what it says. This science-based phototherapy box really does help a lot of people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s not too expensive and offers significant value if you do your research and know your individual needs up-front.