Posted: January 16, 2020
Man reading by SAD lamp

Waterloo Public Library is pleased to be able to offer SAD light therapy lamps at all locations.

SAD (or seasonal affective disorder) is a type of depression that appears to be triggered by seasonal changing light conditions. For most people, SAD symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months and can include fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, weight gain and sleep disorders. Many people with SAD are helped by exposure to bright artificial light. The light therapy lamps available at the library are designed to mimic spring and summer light levels and are known to boost mood and energy levels.

The lamps are easy to use. Simply turn the lamp on and sit, read or work in front of it for 20 to 30 minutes. For sensitive users, gradual exposure is recommended. Guidelines advise sitting approximately 2 feet away and using the lamp at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. Face the lamp and allow the light to shine on your face but not directly in your eyes. You can adjust the angle of the lamp to suit your position.

 Detailed information on the use of the SAD light therapy lamps is posted in the library.

To learn more about SAD, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website.


Do I have to be a WPL member to use the lamps?

No, the lamps are available for everyone to use.

Will the lamps be available all year round?

Yes. SAD is most commonly experienced in the winter however there are some who experience it significantly during the spring/summer season change as well.

Can I reserve the use of a lamp?

The lamps are available on a first-come, first served basis.

Can I borrow a lamp and take it home?

The lamps are for in-library use only and cannot be taken out of the library.

Are the lights safe to use?

Light therapy is considered to be safe. Side effects are rare and if they occur they are usually mild and can include nausea, headaches and/or eye strain. There are no known long-term side effects of light therapy. If you experience discomfort, stop using the lamp and contact your doctor.

Should I consult with my doctor before using a light therapy lamp?

People with certain medical conditions (retinal disease, macular degeneration or diabetes), and those taking certain medications (melatonin, thioridazine, or lithium) should consult a doctor before using light therapy lamps.