Beat the Winter Blues with Light Therapy! Combat SAD the affordable way.

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Beat the Winter Blues with Light Therapy! Combat SAD the affordable way.

As the sun is out for shorter periods of time, we may start to feel a bit tired and down. The obvious solution would be to to supplement with light, however there are many considerations to make to implementing a robust solution to combat SAD!

While the GembaRed light panel can play an important part of addressing the winter blues, it does not act as a traditional SAD light. There are many other lighting options to consider when creating an optimal lighting environment for winter!

1. Embrace the Cold!

Nature and our biology has given us everything we need to thrive in the winter! This may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes leaning into the challenges of nature helps us more than trying to beat it with technology.

How do we do this? Get outside and expose as much skin to the sun a possible! This has a large number of benefits:

a. Free Cold Thermogenesis (CT). Cold Thermogenesis is a fancy way of saying cold-therapy, using the cold can help signal our skin to absorb more light and to signals valuable anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating processes. People are paying prime-dollars for cryotherapy and coolsculpting treatments, and you can get it for free in your own backyard.

b. The sun is the ultimate light therapy tool! Even on cold or cloudy days the intensity and light from the sun can help you combat the SAD. Frequent visits outside is best. Work your way up to using less and less clothing and to longer periods of time outside.

Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons to supplement our sunlight:

  • Working indoors throughout the day.
  • Still building tolerance to the cold.
  • Additional boosts to energy, sleep, recovery, performance.

2. Bright Light Therapy (SAD Lamps)

Typically we search for products labeled as SAD lamps, Happy Lamps, or Wake-up lights. What do these lamps do and provide? Typically they offer high LUX (brightness) and more blue! Both are stimulating to increase wakefulness - and have downstream benefits of improved mood, energy, hormones, and sleep phase.

SAD lamps are usually used in the morning and daytime to stimulate daytime hormones. They would NOT be appropriate in the evening.

Unfortunately, many SAD lights may advertise being "full spectrum" but are still lacking in the invisible wavelengths of energy, while being simple over-marketed bright-white LEDs. I would suspect they are too rich in blue and not balanced with Red or Infrared.

What are affordable bright lights with a more balanced spectrum?

  • Halogen Work-Lamp - a halogen work-lamp offers 500 Watts of true full-spectrum light rich with red and infrared to balance out the blue! Using this to light the room in the mornings can significantly boost wakefulness!

  • Incandescent Heat-Lamp - Typically they come in 100-Watt, 150-Watt or 250-Watt bulbs. Many come with a red coating and are advertised for near-infrared-light therapy. Again these bright bulbs can offer a good balance of high brightness, red, and infrared to give your body a true bright light effect!
  • SAFETY CAUTION! These consume a lot of power and produce a lot of heat. Care must be taken to keep appropriate distance and use for appropriate amounts of time. There is risk of burns, shattering the glass, and keep children away from the lamps.
  • In contrast to those two options above - the GembaRed LED light panels offers high efficiency low-power consumption (45-Watt) red and near infrared lights. So it would NOT have the same effect as those super-bright lights. Read below to see how to optimally implement the GembaRed light into your light-hacking routine.

3. Block Blue and Switch to Red Lights

As we will be typically be waking before the Sun is up, and staying up past the time the sun is down we need to be careful about the artificial light in our environment.

Flourescent and white LED lights are unbalanced in blue light and introduce flicker to the room. Both will sap your energy and cause stress on your eyes!

Replace your indoor lights with candlelight, firelight, incandescent, or low-flicker red LEDs such as GembaRed. Even a salt-lamp will provide a nice red hue. So remember when the sun is down in the mornings or evenings switch to red-rich sources of light where possible!

Additionally blue-blocking glasses and apps on your devices will be important to cut out more blue from your environment. When working indoors or on computers during the day, you may want yellow-tinted glasses to protect from artificial lights.

4. Red and Infrared Light Therapy

Red and near-infrared light specifically target the mitochondria of the cells to improve ATP production. In short, this means more energy and better recovery! This can be an important part of staying high-performance in the winter! So keep your GembaRed in a convenient location to keep your mitochondria working efficiently during the winter.

Far-Infrared light therapy is absorbed by the water in your cells introducing a heating-effect. This can help beat the cold while simultaneously improving cell membrane efficiency, circulation, and detox! Typical methods of far infrared therapy include infrared saunas and infrared heating mats such as the Biomat! The Biomat is additionally helpful as it is lightweight and portable, and can be put on a bed or couch for extra warmth!

Both of these can be implement in the evenings to help introduce a healing and recovery mode before sleep!

5. UV Light Supplementation

If enacting many of the principals above effectively, especially getting as much sunlight as possible, it may not be necessary to supplement UV. However this could be an important option to consider for Vitamin D production in the winter! Remember that Red and Near-Infrared also play an important role in helping safely absorb UV light.


You can see there is a lot to consider when trying to reverse-engineer the sun during the winter! The simplest and cheapest solution is to take advantage of the outdoors and sunlight wherever possible.

The GembaRed light panel offers a multipurpose solution to give affordable:

1. Low-Flicker Red LEDs to use in the mornings and evenings to avoid phase-shifting blue light.
2. Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy for energy-boosting mitochondrial function.
3. Optimize UV absorption - either natural or artificial.

However for a complete solution you may want to consider many of the options mentioned above such as Bright Lights, Blue-Blocking, Far-Infrared, and UV lamps

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: All information in this article and website are intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any ailment. Please consult with your doctor or trusted wellness practitioner before starting any new health activity including cold therapy, red light therapy, or light therapy.