Make Your Own SAD Light Box

Boris wanted to build a light box for his sister, who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a disorder brought on by lack of exposure to bright light in darker winter climates.

My sister suffers from seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression. A commonly prescribed therapy is light therapy - about thirty minutes of bright light in the morning. Bright in this context means more than 10 000 Lumens. You can of course buy commercial light-boxes, but I wanted to construct one by myself.

He neglects to point out that commercial light boxes can run $200+ and that building you own is a really economical choice. By repurposing a wooden filing box from Ikea, buying some compact fluorescent bulbs and some basic light sockets he was able to craft a very serviceable light box for his sister that exceeded the 10,000 Lumen requirement by nearly 6,000 Lumens.


    Or move to Australia!

      Won't do you much good. I live in Australia and suffer from SADD. Admittedly I live in Tas, but I also know of someone in Perth who suffers from it too.

    All the information I've read indicates that a dose of 10,000 lux light exposure for 30 minutes is enough for treating SAD, along with other sleep related disorders. However, you claim to have made a box with 16,000 lumens. There is a difference in units between lumens and lux. Lux is actually lumens/square meter. If you indeed have a 16,000 lumens light box, and the box is .5 square meters, you will actually have a 32,000 lux light exposure. This might actually be too high a light dose and may cause problems. Did I interpret your statements correctly?
    - Donavin

    May be a little late to offer you advice, but it would also be appropriate to have a UV filter fitted. This may then require also fitting a fan to keep the unit cool.
    Also, need to ensure the 10 bulbs are less than 250W each, to avoid tripping the circuit breakers on a standard home circuit. There are also high luminance photographer's lamps that may mean a smaller number of bulbs and smaller box is required.

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