The Sphere Lightphoria light therapy lamp emits a bright white light and has several features, such as timers, that make it convenient to use. In addition, it is small and comes with a handy travel case, so you can keep up with your light therapy when you are away from home – though you still need access to an outlet to use it.
The Lightphoria costs about $60, which is average for a small light therapy lamp. By comparison, the Circadian Optics Lumine and Verilux HappyLight Compact are about the same size and cost nearly the same. However, the Lightphoria performed better. Unfortunately, none of these three lamps really provide the brightness or coverage recommended by light therapy experts, so they're best used for jet lag, night shifts and circadian issues related to pregnancy.
Light Therapy Performance
The Lightphoria has three brightness settings: On low the lamp's specifications suggest it generates 5,000 lux of light, on medium it generates 8,000 lux and on high it emits 10,000 lux. These specifications are not necessarily incorrect, but what they don't tell you is the distance the lamp can project light at that brightness.
Using a light meter, I found that the lamp’s 10,000-lux reach on its brightest setting was 6.5 inches. This is particularly impressive compared to other lamps considering how small the Lightphoria is. However, 6.5 inches is still too close to sit comfortably during light therapy sessions. At 16 inches, the recommended distance for a comfortable session, the brightness was 1,627 lux – far below the 10,000 lux of a sunny day.
By comparison, the Day-Light Sky had a 10,000-lux reach of 12 inches and measured over 3,000 lux at 16 inches. It also has a much bigger coverage area, allowing for a more comfortable session than the Lightphoria.
The manufacturer doesn't list the color temperature of the lamp’s LED lights. However, compared to other lamps, its light seems most like that of the Sunbox Sunlight Jr, which has a color temperature of 5,000 Kelvin – the top of the recommended range for light therapy. Any higher than that and the light moves from the white full spectrum and gives off a cooler, blueish light, which can potentially harm your eyes if you take photosensitizing drugs.
As mentioned, the Lightphoria has three brightness settings, allowing your eyes time to adjust in the morning. However, given the lamp’s size, you can’t really adjust the angle of the light unless you hold it. It uses a kickstand to rest on surfaces, which allows you to adjust the angle by about 15 degrees.
The Lightphoria has a timer that automatically shuts off the light after 15, 30 or 45 minutes. When you set the timer for short periods of time and use the lower light levels, you can do late-afternoon sessions that keep you energized but don't interfere with your sleep cycle.
Safety & Power
The experts at CET.org recommend lamps with fluorescent light because of the color temperatures it produces, but the advantage of an LED lamp is it doesn't produce as much heat. After 30 minutes, the Lightphoria’s surface reached only 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The only lamp that was cooler was the Philips goLITE BLU, which measured 85 degrees. In addition, the Lightphoria barely raised the surface heat of a wall when we placed it 16 inches away. So, you won’t feel uncomfortably hot under its lights.
The Lightphoria light therapy lamp is small enough be a travel-friendly way to treat jet lag. However, its output isn't powerful enough for daily sessions, unless you sit very close to the lamp.