There's a Sleek New Player on the SAD Lamp Scene

Upstart gadget-tech company Loftie is offering sleepy aesthetes an alternative to the characteristically unpleasant, if not effective, medical-grade SAD lamps designed to make shorter winter days a little less melancholy.

The Loftie Lamp

Every winter, as the days get shorter and some climates experience drops in temperatures, getting out of bed seems to be that much harder. Light therapy, clinical lingo for flooding a room with rays that mimic the sun, is touted by researchers, doctors, and normies as a solution for sluggish wakeups and a possible treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression.

SAD is a medical condition that can only be treated by a doctor, but the term “SAD lamp” has emerged as shorthand for tabletop lighting designed to trick the body into thinking it’s getting more than a scant few hours of natural light each day. Searching for SAD lamps online turns up a slew of options that may be doctor-endorsed but, aesthetically speaking, are more depressing to look at than a 3:30 P.M. sunset.

“Dr. Robert Sack and I realized that humans really don’t have seasonal rhythms like animals do, like breeding and hibernation and reproduction,” says. Alfred Lewy, a pioneering researcher whose work has informed the use of light therapy as a SAD treatment. “We proposed a ‘phase shift hypothesis’ that is still the leading hypothesis for how bright lights treat SAD, which is that in the winter, with the shorter days, most people’s circadian rhythms drift late with the later dawn, out of phase with their natural sleep-wake cycle. It’s like having jet lag for five months. With morning bright-light exposure, those rhythms are pushed back earlier, back into phase with their sleep.”

Take the Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp. SAD expert Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, recommended it to the New York Times, and while it seems very legit, it also looks more suited to lighting the site of an archeological dig.

The briefcase-like lightbox above was recommended to the Strategist by Hanne F. Hoffman and Dr. Gail Saltz, two researchers and faculty at Michigan State University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, respectively. Hoffman and Dr. Saltz pack standout credentials, of course, but we can’t help feeling that this piece of equipment is a bit too industrial-grade for the person trying to cajole themselves out of bed for a 6:00am run.(Really, will anything help with that?)

The SAD-lamp-curious who are looking for something that vibes with their snake plant and linen bedding might be more into Loftie’s wake-up and wind-down Lamp. Launched in 2020, the company has since been trying to disrupt the home-gadget industry with the promise to banish phones from the bedroom in the name of better, more restful sleep. Its alarm clock has been picked up by MoMA Design Store and the pickiest editors (including these) for its ability to deliver on that promise by replacing the dreaded beeping with a melodic but effective wake up tune.

Used together with the brand’s hit alarm clock, the Loftie lamp will make for an elegant bedside table vignette, and a small comfort to anyone counting down to daylight savings time.

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