BATTLING SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER // the needlite daylight desk lamp

daylight lamp

I know I’ve been saying how much I love the dark, cosy nights, but I’ve changed my mind.

I want some sunlight now. I need some sunlight now.

It’s well recognised now that the gloomy winter months can bring on a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder. We haven’t quite figured out why some people are hit so hard by SAD, but the most popular theory is that the lack of sunlight stops the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls our hormones and body chemicals – from working properly.

This, in turn, could increase the production of melatonin – the hormone that makes you sleepy – and reduce serotonin – one of the ‘happy hormones’ that help lift your mood.

All of this can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and generally a bit rubbish. Sleep patterns can be affected (do not get me started on my own battle with insomnia) and all of the above can increase cravings for sugary, stodgy comfort food.

I actually think I’m pretty good at fobbing off the winter blues – the dark and cold doesn’t drag me down like it does some people – but I have to admit I’m pining for some proper sunlight now.

Daylight is essential, as it helps us to optimise our circadian rhythms (our internal clocks) by waking up the brain and speeding up our reaction times and thought processes (interestingly, this is also the theory behind why the light from smartphones and tablets can mess with sleep patterns, as the brain gets tricked into believing it’s still daytime and doesn’t shut down for sleep the way it should).

And, if you’re thinking, ‘Oh well, summer’s on the way and the clocks go forward in a few weeks – I’ll get lots of extra light then…’ I have news for you – even in summer we’re still not getting enough sunshine, as most of us are cooped up inside from Monday to Friday.

Luckily for us, some very clever people have been working hard to solve the problem.

The NEEDLIGHT daylight lamp was invented in Denmark where, on the shortest day of the year, the sun doesn’t rise until 9.30am and disappears again seven hours later. So that’s 17 hours of darkness to muddle through between sunset and sunrise. The UK isn’t much better, with just under eight hours of daylight to keep us going during our darkest months.

It works by mimicking natural daylight and tricking your brain into producing all those lovely ‘get-up-and-go’ chemicals. You may have seen something similar in the form of a sunrise clock or a light-therapy panel, but the Needlight is next level – a super-stylish, contemporary desk light you can adjust to your own preferences, and use every day to counter or prevent SAD, or just give yourself a natural energy boost. 

You can turn the low-energy LED light on and off by quickly tapping the aluminium base, or adjust the strength of the lights by holding your finger down. The dual light design projects evenly from both sides, reducing reflections and shadows. You can control the intensity via the Needlite app, and even set the lights to switch on and off when you leave your desk. Perhaps most handily, you can track your personal stats to optimise your light exposure and productivity. 

As you’ve probably heard me mention once or twice (or a thousand times…) we’re currently renovating our house, and when it’s all completed I’ll finally have an office again – my first dedicated workspace since I sacrificed for the nursery nearly a decade ago.

I love to have lots of light (I’d literally live in a glass house if I could), so I’m champing at the bit for it to be finished so I can get my desk and my Needlite properly set up. And it’s not just my mood that’s going to benefit. I can’t bear that dingy yellowy cast of regular indoor lighting; because this projects a cool, bright light the dual lamps are perfect for extra illumination for videos and photographs.

Costing around £350, the Needlite daylight lamp isn’t cheap; rather, it’s an investment into your immediate comfort, and your ongoing health and wellbeing. It’s the power of daylight, at your desk.

• read my Top 5 Tips for Working from Home, and Why You Need to Stop Working for Free

The Needlight desk lamp was provided for the purpose of review





  1. How cool is that! I am definitely NOT a Winter person by a long shot, I hate being stuck inside but it’s sooooo cold out. I try to sit right next to a window to get light whilst I’m working but there’s a bit of a draft there so it’s not ideal.

  2. Those lamps are awesome! Not sure I would pay so much but they do seem really great

    • They’re definitely a big initial outlay, but I think over time they ‘earn their keep’; in my case, they also double as photography lights so I get added value from that. It’s just a shame we can’t rely on more actual sunshine here in the UK, haha! x

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