According to neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, light box devices can benefit mental and physical health.
As an authority on the brain, nervous system, and human optimization, Dr. Huberman provides research-backed recommendations.
In this post, we will share Huberman’s light panel recommendations, share his rationale for using one, and explore use cases like treating seasonal depression disorder.
Huberman Natural Light Therapy
Dr. Huberman emphasizes that even indirect natural sunlight exposure has more benefits than indoor artificial lighting.
Huberman recommends making a habit of viewing sunlight earlier in the day and at sunset if possible.
He advises spending time outside on cloudy days to get light exposure through cloud cover.
However, looking directly at dangerously bright light should always be avoided.
Huberman Safe Sun Exposure
Dr. Huberman recommends exposing both your eyes and skin to moderate sunlight whenever it is reasonably safe and socially appropriate to do so.
He notes that more skin exposure allows your body to absorb more beneficial photons.
However, he cautions that individual factors like skin cancer risk should be discussed with your doctor.
Huberman recommends sunscreen as a potential solution, with some caveats.
Huberman Light Box for Seasonal Depression
“If you do experience some drop in energy or increase in depression or psychological lows, it can be very beneficial to access a SAD lamp. Or if you don’t want to buy a SAD lamp, because oftentimes they can be very expensive, you might do well to simply get a LED lighting panel.”
Choosing an Affordable Light Box
Dr. Huberman recommends an LED art drafting light box panel that provides 930 to 1,000 lux brightness.
He notes these inexpensive light boxes are:
“Literally a drawing box. It’s a thin panel. It’s about the size of a laptop. Very inexpensive compared to the typical SAD lamp.”
He keeps one of these affordable light panels on his desk all day to maintain healthy circadian rhythms.
How Light Boxes Improve Mood
By providing ample exposure to short wavelength blue light that mimics natural outdoor light, these LED light boxes can activate biological mechanisms involved in:
- Boosting mood
- Increasing feelings of energy and alertness
- Regulating healthy sleep cycles
Carefully using an artificial bright light source like this, especially during darker winter months, can help compensate for less natural sunlight exposure.