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Light Therapy Lamps

Light Therapy Lamps

Light therapy lamps, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Lamps, mimic outdoor natural light. Late fall and winter months tend to lack sunshine, this can affect individuals in different ways- including lowering mood, lowering energy and over sleeping. Over time, these lights are intended to improve mood and overall sense of wellbeing in those affected.

The use of these lights is best accompanied by good sleep hygiene:

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day 
  • Avoid naps, but if you can’t help it make sure to keep your sleep schedule consistent!

We have further information on sleep hygiene on our webpage

How to Use These Lamps

Use the lamp for 1 hour at 16 inches, or 30 minutes at 12 inches away from you each day, preferably first thing in the morning. The lamp, if used too late in the day may disturb your ability to fall asleep.

Use the light regularly at about the same time each day.

Please do not look directly at the light. However, please position the lamp so that the light reaches your eyes.

Do not wear dark glasses while using light.

Please Note:

If you have been told you must wear sunglasses in bright light, or if you have a history of eye problems, please consult a health-care professional before using the lamp.

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (either type I or II), or experienced a manic or hypomanic episode, use the lamp for a maximum of 30 minutes a day and in the morning only.

If you become very irritable and/or begin sleeping less than 5 hours each night, discontinue use of the lamp.

Bright light can sometimes cause eye and/or skin irritations and headaches.

If irritation occurs, stop using the lamp immediately.

After irritation disappears, start using the lamp again at 5 minutes a day and try it at distances you are comfortable with. 

Gradually increase exposure time and shorten the distance until you achieve the distance and duration indicated in the instructions.


Where to Access These Lamps on Campus

Happy Lights Lending Program (undergraduate students only)

There are 12 lamps available to undergraduate McGill students. Lamps can be borrowed for a period of two weeks with a $40 deposit. Students will be charged the full amount ($120) if they do not return the lamp. To check the availability of the lamps, call the front desk at (514) 398-6800. SSMU Office (Suite 1200, Brown Building) M - F: 9 am - 5 pm

PGSS Happy Lamp Lending Program (grad students only)

Students can sign up to reserve a therapy lamp from the PGSS. Loan periods are for two weeks and reserved lamps must be picked up within 48 hours. Lamps must be then returned to the PGSS office by the 2 week deadline. While the lamps are free to rent for PGSS members, there is a $40 deposit. 

McGill Psychiatric Services

There are eight lamps available only to students being seen at the Psychiatric Services. Lamps can be borrowed for a period of two weeks at no cost. There is a $50 charge for any late lamp rental returns.

McGill Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (MORSL)

One first come, first serve lamp in the prayer/meditation room. The meditation room is available to all McGill full time undergrad students, graduate students, and post-docs who have opted into the Student Services fee.

2nd floor, Presbyterian College 3495 rue University M - F: 10 am - 4 pm

Macdonald Campus Library

There are two lamps set up for use in the Barton Building. 


If you have any questions related to your well-being and the use of these lamps please contact McGill Psychiatric Services. If you have any feedback or questions regarding accessing the lamps please contact the office providing the service.