When I struggled with mental illness, the winters were often more challenging, but I wouldn’t blame that on the sun because I was very skilled at descending into self-destructive, depressing cycles of compulsions in the middle of the sunny summer, too. So with this review, I can’t make an assessment on what impact a light like this might have on mood or mental health if you’re really struggling. Recovery was about making a range of complex changes throughout my life. Flipping a switch on a lamp was not one of them. But now that my mental health is in great shape and I’m enjoying a healthy, cozy, swimming-in-hot-chocolate winter, what I’m interested in is whether this lamp will adjust my circadian rhythm, which does go whacky in the winter. Here’s what I mean by that:
For most of the year, I love waking up around 5:30 am to write. Baking a few thousand words before 9 always feel amazing. But then the winter comes, and I start to find myself wide awake when I want to go to bed, I stay up later, I start waking up later, and my internal clock shifts later as the sun rises later. One of the hypotheses about bright light therapy is that it shifts the circadian rhythm earlier. Wake up early, flip on the light, trick the brain into believing the sun is already up. Or so the theory goes…
For this review, I used the Carex Daylight Classic Plus. I selected it because of all the most popular light therapy lamps on Amazon, it seemed to be the only one that met the criteria research suggests may be beneficial. As I explain in the video review, the majority of lamps you see on Amazon, that claim to be light therapy lamps, just seem to be using a lot of SEO and marketing gimmicks to sell LEDs stuck on a cheap piece of plastic. So if you’re looking for a lamp, be aware that there are a lot of fakes out there. If you’re going to get a lamp that’s within the specs that researchers use, it’s going to be larger and on the expensive end of the range. In particular, look for a light that tells you the distance at which it’s 10,000 Lux. Generally, if you see it advertising 10,000 Lux but it’s not explicitly telling you how far away you need to sit from the lamp or how long to sit with the lamp, then it’s likely a fake.
I explain more in the video about why that’s key, so check it out and see how I fared on my bright light therapy lamp review adventure:
If you decide to skip the lamp and go straight for the book, you can order Dogen’s Shobogenzo here: https://amzn.to/2Ze9HQB The morning reading continues to be the the more enjoyable practice I picked up on this review adventure.