Light therapy lamps are one mode of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues.”
The lamps are designed to mimic spring and summer light levels.
They are used by reading, working or relaxing in front of them for only 20-30 minutes per day.
Location of Lamps
Light Therapy Lamps are available on a first-come, first-served basis at these Library locations:
- Woodward Library
- Level 2, carrel, use the central stairwell
- Level 3, room 324, use the northeast stairwell
- Biomedical Branch Library
- First carrel on the left at the entrance
How to use the Lamps
- There are sign up sheets at each lamp. Note your name and duration of time.
- Turn the lamp on and sit facing it, reading, working or relaxing.
- You want to be approximately 16 – 20 inches away, and no more than 20-30 minutes a day is all you need.
- The light needs to shine on your eyes, but do not stare directly at the bulb.
- Adjust the angle of the lampshade downward, ensuring that you can still see both tubes.
- Turn the lamp off when you are finished using it to preserve the bulb.
Need to Know Information
- Please consult a health-care professional before using the lamp if you have been told you must wear sunglasses in sunlight, have a medical condition including retinal disease, macular degeneration, bipolar disorder or diabetes, or are taking certain medications (including, but not limited to, melatonin, thioridazine or lithium).
- If you are unsure whether using the lamps is contraindicated due to a medical condition or medication you are taking, please consult your doctor first. If you experience any discomfort, immediately stop using the lamp and contact your doctor.
- The use of light therapy lamps should not be viewed as a substitute for seeking medical advice.
- Use of the lamps is at your own discretion.
- The University of British Columbia Library is not liable for any health issues related to use of the light therapy lamps.
Resources are available for University of British Columbia faculty, students and staff.
Get in touch
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About Seasonal Affective Disorder
- UBC research indicates light therapy is also effective for nonseasonal depression (http://ubcsad.ca; https://news.ubc.ca/2015/11/18/light-therapy-effective-for-depression-ubc-study/). Lam, R., Levitte, A., & Levitan, R. (2016).
- Efficacy of Bright Light Treatment, Fluoxetine, and the Combination in Patients with Nonseasonal Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(1). 56-63. This study found the use of light therapy for 30 minutes per day improved the overall wellbeing of participants.
- Dr. Raymond Lam has done extensive research on light therapy and has published A Clinician’s Guide to Using Light Therapy
With special thanks to Susan Parker, University Librarian, and Lea Starr, Associate University Librarian, Research, for funds to support this initiative, and to Northern Light Technologies.