White Light and Blue Light products in the UK
Although the light emitted by the sun appears to be white it is actually made up of the full spectrum of colours. This becomes apparent when sunlight shines through rain and it is split into the full spectrum of colours creating a rainbow.
Seasonal Affective Disorder Blue Light Therapy
The theory behind conventional Full Spectrum (White Light) light boxes is that they effectively replicate sunshine. As a result they give the user a positive response when they are lacking sunshine.
Historically only Full spectrum light boxes were used to treat light deficiency disorders. However, advancements in research and technology have shown that a particular bandwidth of blue light is also effective in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD.org.uk recommend both White Light and Blue Light products in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
There are many studies in to the effectiveness of White Light and Blue light therapy and it is a clinically proven technology for the treatment of SAD. SAD.org.uk recommends the use of traditional White Light therapy devices as well as the newer Blue Light Therapy devices.
LED SAD Lights Vs Traditional SAD Lights
In the last few years LED light boxes for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder have been proven to be just as effective as traditional tube bulb SAD Light devices. SAD.org.uk recommends the use of LED Lightboxes as well as traditional tube bulb light therapy devices.
LED light therapy devices have been proven to be effective but please only buy from a manufacturer that has proven research. Some ‘copycat’ products do not produce the correct levels of light and whilst not dangerous they may not treat Seasonal Affective Disorder effectively. Please always look at the manufacturers website and research thoroughly before making a purchase to ensure the product is a genuine medical treatment device.
Is a Dawn Simulator a SAD Light?
Dawn Simulators treat some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but they cannot be classed as a medically proven SAD Light.
SAD Light = Medically proven Light Treatment Device designed to treat the root cause of SAD (lack of sunlight). This will be classed by the retailer as VAT exempt (for personal use) it is a proven medical device.
Dawn Simulator = A waking device that helps the user wake gently from there sleep (some Dawn Simulators also include a Sunset facility to aid sleep)
Dawn Simulators are excellent products in their own right, but they must not be confused with SAD Lights as they only treat part of the problem. Dawn Simulators will promote good sleep and help you to wake naturally in the mornings. However, please note that difficulty waking is just one of the symptoms of SAD and a normal Dawn Simulator will not cure SAD. Many sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder purchase both a SAD Light and a Dawn Simulator – as a gentle waking using a Dawn Simulator, followed by a medical SAD Light treatment about half an hour after you wake has been found to be the most effective way to treat SAD.
SAD Lights that treat the root cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder with a full Light Therapy Treatment and as a result they have to be registered with the Medical Devices Agency as required by European Union legislation. (CE 0120, designed and built to conform to EN60601-1/-2, EC93/42, EC89/336, EN60598 and EN46002).
Are Full Spectrum and Daylight Bulbs SAD Lights?
No, not at this time. Unfortunately due to clever marketing many people believe they can get a SAD Light treatment just by buying a full spectrum bulb or daylight bulb but this is factually incorrect.
This is misleading as unless the bulb emits 10000 lux they cannot be classed as powerful enough to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. At this time there is no standard bulb, full spectrum bulb or daylight bulb that is powerful enough to treat SAD. The bulbs emit a pleasant light that can reduce tiredness and give better visual accurity but their benefit in treating SAD is unproven and not based on any medical evidence of which SAD.org.uk are aware.