The SunBox Company Blog

An Invitation to join the Conversation about the SunBox and Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and More

Welcome to The SunBox Company’s blog page on light therapy!

Our company was founded in 1985, and we are the original pioneers of the light box / light therapy industry. The SunBoxes we manufacture here in the U.S.A. are used for bright light therapy, also known as seasonal affective disorder therapy (or SAD therapy). We make the best light therapy units available today! Our SAD lights have been prescribed and recommended by over 3,000 health professionals since 1985 to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the winter blues, depression, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

I hope you enjoy our posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Thank you!
Neal Owens, President

Seasonal Affective Disorder and the Winter Blues

It’s 30 years since the term seasonal affective disorder (SAD) was first used to describe winter depression. Is it overused today? In 1984 psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal first used a term that changed the way people thought about winter. Seasonal affective disorder describes a type of depression with a seasonal pattern, usually occurring during winter. A lack of light is thought to affect the part of the brain that rules sleep, appetite, sex drive, mood and activity levels. Patients experience lethargy and a craving for sugary snacks. Rosenthal included the term in a paper he co-wrote following a move from the [More…]

Light Therapy Helps Chronic Mood Disorders, Too

Researchers suspect that seasonal affective disorder, first reported in 1984, has something to do with circadian rhythms thrown off by short, dark days. At first, Vox reports, scientists connected SAD to excessive production of melatonin; now they think it has more to do with the mismatch of melatonin production and sleep schedules. Either way, short periods sitting under a special lamp is recommended as a treatment, and researchers have wondered whether the the effects of phototherapy might be able to treat chronic mood disorders. Now, Nautilus reports, “research into the circadian underpinnings of chronic depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and [More…]

New Scientific Explanation for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Written by: MICHAEL BYRNE Even as someone that loves ice, slop, rain, snow, and cold, it’s hard not to look at a forecast like this and feel a pinge of grey emptiness: That’s winter around here, basically. Every now and again there will be a proper cold snap and one of those days will flip to snow, and we’ll get buried underneath two feet of the heaviest, wettest slop nature is capable of. It would seem these are conditions uniquely primed for seasonal affective disorder, an extremely common condition considered to be a recurrent form of major depressive disorder. How those [More…]

Help Fund New Research How Blood Absorbs Light

Did you know that scientists still don’t know how light is absorbed in treating SAD? It’s like knowing we need oxygen to live, but not knowing that our blood is capturing oxygen from the air! We are studying the idea that our blood is also capturing light, which improves our mood and energy. This is a radical idea, but it actually makes good sense. If we can understand how light is absorbed, this will truly open a window into the brain. Since doing novel psychiatric research is not funded by the usual funding sources, we are turning to “crowd-funding” to [More…]

Bright light therapy proves bright idea for treating depressed elderly people.

Exposure to bright light may be just as effective for depressed elderly people as taking antidepressant medication, scientists have found, and the benefits seem to last even after the treatment is discontinued. In the Dutch study, 89 people aged 60 or older with a diagnosis of major depression were given a light box to take home and instructed to sit beside it for an hour each morning over three weeks. For half the group, the light it emitted was bright light, while others were subjected to a dim red light. After three weeks, more of those exposed to the bright [More…]

Spring weather can affect your mood and sleep. Light therapy can help.

After the winter that just wouldn’t quit, spring has finally arrived. People across the country can now put away their snow shovels and rest easy until the end of the year. Or, at least, that’s what everyone hopes. No, there isn’t ice or snow in your local forecast, but there might be problems ahead with the “rest easy” part of your post-winter euphoria. Spring can be a difficult season for sleep and your mood. Even after you’ve dealt with daylight saving time, there are tons of problems that can affect your mood and sleep. “In spring and summer, you’re getting [More…]

Morning light exposure helps you manage your weight.

A surprising new study sheds light on what it could really take to lose weight. Good Housekeeping Reports: We love it when science tells us to do things we actually love doing. Today’s good news: If you normally spend your mornings cooped up in a car or cubicle, go outside and enjoy some fresh air, because new research has found a very strong link between morning light and body mass index (BMI, which is calculated from your weight and height). A Northwestern Medicine study released today has determined that the timing, intensity, and length of your light exposure during the [More…]

Windowless office can affect your sleep & health

A new study demonstrates a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep and health. Sleep-related impacts include fewer minutes of rest per night. Health-related impacts include reduced activity levels and quality of life. Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows. Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality [More…]

Depression Caused by Winter Weather and Being Stuck Indoors

Are you experiencing depression caused by winter weather? Are you stuck indoors, unable to experience the joys of sunshine? Winter weather that traps you inside can wear on your spirits and have you depressed in no time. A Health Poll on asked: Do you tend to feel depressed during dark winter days? 76.3% said YES, . . . I’m definitely in a better mood when the sun is shining. 22.8% said NO, . . . seasonal changes usually don’t affect my mood. An estimated 25 million Americans notice significant changes in mood and behavior as the seasons change. Another [More…]

Get Kids Up Easier with a Dawn Simulator

“Parents know it. Teachers know it. Teenagers are zombies in the morning.” This statement by Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., and Lynne Lamberg, authors of the book, The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, summarizes the battle faced by parents and teachers of adolescents every day. Using a SunBox dawn simulator can help kids wake up easier. School starts early. The problem of waking kids in time for classes, which generally begin between 7 and 8 a.m., is drawing battle lines between parents and their kids around the country. Delayed daily body rhythms, which normally start to occur around the beginning of [More…]