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VINE VOICEon February 6, 2009
I have mild Seasonal Affective Disorder, which didn't rear its head until I left sunny south Florida, where I grew up, and moved midway up the Atlantic Coast after graduating from college. Although our winters where I live now are *nothing* like the harsh, gray winters in the northern US and Canada, I do tend to feel a mild case of the blues each November-March. Adding to this problem are the following:
1) My internal clock is skewed: I'd prefer to go to bed at 3 am and wake up at 11. I've never been a "morning person."
2) I work in a dreary, cubicle-filled, fluorescent-lit office for 8-9 hours a day, nowhere near a window.

This past November, I did several days' worth of research into SAD and related conditions (my internal clock is connected to SAD!) and eventually decided I was a reasonable candidate for light therapy. I had been eyeing this Zadro Sunlight unit, and when it went on sale before the holidays, I bought it. (Might as well start small, right? What if it ended up not working? I didn't want to waste hundreds of dollars on a huge designer SAD light. The Zadro unit fit the bill, literally.)

I can honestly say that it has worked, but it took about 4 weeks of daily use for me to notice a big change. The human brain interprets blue LED light as sunlight, and that's why this unit is effective. I find the strongest light intensity (100%) to be too great, so I set it to 50% and leave it on for 60 minutes in the morning at my desk. It has noticeably helped me feel happier and more alert. Surprisingly (I was doubtful I would see any effect), it has helped regulate my internal clock: I wake up more easily in the morning, get hungry at normal times (noon instead of 2:00 pm), and start to feel tired around 10:30-11:00 pm. It's a huge difference.

Unit specifications, according to the user's manual:
- 10,000 LUX
- 35 individual blue LED lights with variable intensity (10% - 100%)
- No UV rays
- Clock: The numbers you see on the small blue panel in the picture (03:14) are the clock. I think it can only show 24-hour time, which I personally prefer; but this may be annoying to some people. The directions don't tell you how to change it to a 12-hour clock.
- Timer: You can set the light to turn off after 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes.
- Programs: Three separate program options (A, B, C) allow you to pre-set the desired intensity and duration of light.

The unit functions via power adapter, is very lightweight -- some would say flimsy -- and measures about 5" x 2.5". It comes with a two-compartment black microfiber carrying case and a small circular battery for the clock. The lights will only turn on if you plug in the power cord. The directions are pretty worthless, and the buttons aren't terribly intuitive; but the unit is not difficult to figure out. I haven't have any problems programming or turning on my unit.

Make sure you do some research beforehand, as the recommended "dosages" (duration/intensity) of light are different for each person, although it seems to be universally beneficial to use the light first thing in the morning as you go through your normal routine (breakfast, computer, workout, etc.). While in use, you should place the unit at arm's length, angled slightly away from you, just a few degrees outside your direct line of vision; simply glancing at it, very briefly, 1-2 times during each session should be sufficient.

A word of caution, though: while you're programming your Zadro or messing with the buttons, angle it to the side so it doesn't shock your eyes if/when it suddenly turns on (ouch!). Some reviewers have bemoaned the light's intensity, and I only have one response to that: the directions clearly state NOT to stare DIRECTLY at the light! :) If it hurts your eyes to glance at the unit, angle it farther away and/or decrease the light intensity. (For what it's worth, I actually find it quite pleasant to glance at the turquoise-indigo colored lights. It's a very soothing color that reminds me of the Caribbean.)

I can absolutely recommend the Zadro Sunlight unit to those who would benefit from light therapy, whether for SAD or internal clock resetting. Good luck!

** Update, Feb. 21, 2010: I am still using the Zadro Sunlight unit each morning, and the kind of "pick me up" effect it has is amazing, especially in the winter. I did notice that a lot of other reviewers are having terrible problems with the unit's flimsiness. Although I can't speak for anyone else's experience, I haven't had any problems with mine -- but that may be because it lives in one spot on my desk and doesn't get moved around at all, ever. If you're looking for a very sturdy and/or battery-operated unit, you may want to opt for another brand/model. However, I still love my Zadro and use it every day.
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on December 8, 2008
I was a little unsure about the benefit of light therapy. So, rather than plunking down a lot of money at first, I decided to try a smaller cheaper light. I knew it was a risk, and that I may not be giving light therapy a fair chance going this route, as a cheaper light might just not be providing the spectrum and intensity needed to get the full impact. However, I have had my light now for about 2 months and I am now a full believer in light therapy. I have always had issues with feeling lethargic, gaining weight and having an overall feeling of mild depression once the winter months start to set in (my usual onset begins in about October). Since using this light I have seen a huge difference in my energy level (and by extension no weight gain like I usually see at this time of year), my sleeping patterns (not difficult to get up in the morning anymore), and my mood. I use the light 5 to 7 days a week, for about 45 - 60 minutes in the morning. During the work week, I use it at my desk at work when I first get in (which is around 6:30am, and I have been up for about 1.5 hours by then). On the weekends I usually have it on by my laptop when I get up around 7 - 7:30am. Considering how cheap this light is compared to others I am amazed at how well it seems to work for me. Not to mention, the size is fantastic (lightweight and extremely portable - it fits right in my laptop bag). I may buy a second, more expensive light for comparison, and so I can keep one at home and one at work. But, if you are looking for an entry level light to see if light therapy might work for you...this one is an excellent place to start.
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on December 19, 2008
I have this light on my desk at work and use it at full strength for 30 minutes in the morning, and sometimes at 10% or 20% strength for a bit later in the day. I live up north where there's no daylight in the middle of winter. This light has totally changed my life. But I think it would have even if we had more sun, and I'm going to continue using it throughout the year.

I was so tired and low on energy before I got this, increasing my coffee intake little by little, and it wasn't helping. This light resets your body clock. I can feel it happening immediately. Suddenly I'm awake and completely "on it" and feeling clear and attentive at 8AM. That is NOT typical for me. And I get tired at the appropriate time at night. I have real, normal energy, not like nervous caffeine energy. I've been getting a ton of work done, on the job and at home since I got this about 3 weeks ago.

I can't recommend this product highly enough. Its small, and portable. Its also the cheapest light on here, and I really don't know what the other lights can do that would be better. This thing is very bright, and its that blue spectrum light that causes the brain reactions that you want to achieve. You can program it for a time and intensity, or just manually set it. The casing is a little flimsy--the stand broke after just a couple weeks for no reason, but I put a piece of tape on it and its fine.
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on November 28, 2010
The Zadro is clearly a mixed bag--just read the previous reviews and notice how variable the opinions are. So, speaking based on my own experience during the past week, here's what I think. First, as to overall build quality. The Zadro's construction is flimsy, but I suspect that it will serve me well as a way of trying out light therapy at relatively low cost. Unlike others I have not found it impossible to make the mushy push buttons work well enough to set the clock and turn the unit on and off automatically. I've mainly been using the 30 minute setting and admittedly that's simplified things.

I find that it has allowed me to shift my circadian rhythm during the week, so I now find it easier to go to sleep earlier and wake up more easily before my alarm goes off. Whether it's brightened my mood is still pretty unclear. It certainly hasn't made it darker, but I don't feel like I'm a brighter, more cheerful person either. I do find that as I use it for longer periods of time that I do feel a bit more wired and energetic, but as mentioned above it's still early times for me.

One thing that's worth mentioning is that it is quite low powered compared to the lights that have been used in most of the light therapy studies that have been written up and are available on the web. I measured the output with a simple lux meter and found that it was about 300 lux at a distance of 24 inches. You have to press the lux meter directly against the LEDs to get to the 10,000 lux rating that is mentioned by the manufacturer. Once I figured this out I modified the way I use it. I now do 30 minutes with the Zadro at 2 feet and 100% brightness when I first wake up in the morning at around 5:30. Later in the morning I leave it set up behind and above my laptop and usually log another hour or hour and a half of light exposure in that manner. It's when I do that, that I say to myself, "Huh, maybe I do feel a bit wired."

There's a lot of stuff on the web about the dangers of blue light and macular degeneration which seems to be argued mainly by Sunnex Biotechnologies who are recommending their green "low light" technology as safer and more effective at low light intensities. It's hard to know just how much attention to pay to those arguments given the financial stakes in play. Perhaps you will find the following link useful: [...]

Finally, as with most experiments with light therapy, the placebo effect is lurking about, making hard and fast conclusions elusive. But maybe what matters finally is whether, over time, the Zadro and similar lights from Philips and others make a difference for me. We'll see. In any case, I'm glad that I didn't invest $200-$400 dollars to do my experiments.
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on April 12, 2009
After having my baby I sunk into a long battle with postpartum depression.
I was put on very strong narcotics and anti-depressants. That turned me into a zombie. After talking about the very bad side effects I was having with my doctor. He suggested I try this light along with diet and exercise.
After two months I am almost completely off all drugs and feel better then I have in almost two years. I sit each morning with my book or laptop and enjoy some quite time while my light shines at my side. It has worked so well for me that my husband now has his own light he uses at his office.
It gives him a boost of energy during that after lunch sluggish time.

It has worked miracles for me and I highly recommend it to others.
Also others have complained that it is to bright. I just pointed it a little out of my line of site and only occasionally glance at it. I also suggest starting with small increments of time and gradually increasing the amount of time until it works for you
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on December 10, 2009
Sunlight Therapy Zadro 365 / B001AHMN34

Pros
+ Easy to setup
+ Easy to use
+ Adjustable levels of brightness
+ Small, unobtrusive
+ Works wonders for my awareness, awake-ness, and moods

Cons
- Lacks full battery functionality
- 24 (aka "military") time only
- Plastic backing could be a little more sturdy

I've been saying for years that I am "solar powered" - when it is cloudy or rainy for days on end, I get 'rainy day blues' and when it's sunny and bright outside, I just feel so much better. When I took a job three years ago in a windowless building, I knew I would struggle with the issue of only seeing the sun and sky briefly in the mornings and then even more briefly in the evenings. Winters are, without a doubt, the worst.

A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, based on my symptoms of being *constantly* tired and draggy, as well as some blood work that "lit up like Christmas", to quote my doctor. I yawn throughout the day at work, I feel fatigued and mentally absent, and I literally call a friend or relative every day to "talk me home" because I feel as though I could fall asleep on the drive. And, believe me, I live cleanly - I limit caffeine and sugar intake, I go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning. But bed at 10 pm never seems to be early enough, and awake at 6 am is an impossible struggle. Even when I try to give myself 10-11 hours of sleep, I still drag through the day!

I've never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I've of course heard of it. I've often said that money would be no object for a light therapy device - *IF* I could just know that it would actually work. This seemed like a nice, low-risk investment, due to the relatively low price.

The first day I used the Zadro, I woke at 5:45 am, took the Zadro to work, and plugged it in at my desk at 7:00 and then just left it on all day until 5 pm. That first day, I immediately noticed some small improvement: I still yawned during the day, but less often, and without the usual accompanying absolute weariness that clouded my mind and made me so miserable. Over the next few days, I repeated this pattern and I noticed some small, but much needed changes - I was waking up at 5:45 with (or even before) the alarm, mornings were more productive, afternoons were less exhausting, I yawned less, and I no longer begged people to keep me awake on the drive home. I felt happier, and much less depressed and sad - more like I feel on sunny weekends than I usually do on gloomy Mondays.

Now, all that may not sound like drastic improvement to you (shouldn't I be dancing and singing like Julie Andrews?), but to me, it is a dream come true. There is no doubt in my mind that the Zadro is helping me, and I consider it worth every penny. So if you see any of yourself in the situation above, and you just want the cheapest therapy light you can find to test it for yourself, then you can stop reading my review now, if you like, and add this to your cart - the rest of my review will be technical details for people comparing the Zadro to some of the other light therapy devices out there.

---

The Zadro works right out of the box - pull the little plastic kick stand out, set it on your desk, plug in the cord, and you're ready to go. The initial light setting is at full power, so do NOT look directly at it when you turn it on, or you'll be seeing stars for a few minutes. The light can be adjusted from 100% to 10%, in discrete steps of 10% each, and all of the settings are very bright - I keep mine permanently on 10% and never look directly at it (I face north, the light sits two feet in front of me, facing south, but the light is also about two feet to my left as well, giving me the peripheral light).

The instructions are easy to read and understand; the clock and timer are very quick to set up. Hold the 'clock' and 'program' buttons down until the clock display starts to blink, then use the up/down buttons to adjust the time. Press the 'light' button to turn on the light, press the up/down buttons to adjust the brightness, press the 'clock' button to turn the lights back off.

Oddly, the Zadro is a "hand held" size, features battery backup (open the battery door and pull the protection strip to activate), and comes with a padded black fabric carrying case for both the light and the power charger - *however* the battery appears to only be strong enough for clock backup when taking the light on travel or from the home to office. It doesn't seem that the battery is strong enough to actually run the light. Or at least if it is, I haven't been able to charge it fully enough to do so - when I pull the plug during operation, the light immediately extinguishes. So if you were planning to, say, take this in the car with you, then this probably won't work for you.

Although this has a timer to turn on the light at a specified time, I can't see a way to, say, turn it on at 10% and then increase brightness by 10% every ten minutes or so. So if you're interested in a sunrise-simulating alarm clock, this won't fit the bill either. And the plastic casing and kickstand aren't the most expensive, most sturdy material I've ever owned, but it's definitely not flimsy either. I can see this holding up for a long time, even with heavy travel use.

Bottom line, if you think you might have SAD and are just looking for a bargain device to 'test' your response, I definitely recommend this Zadro. If, on the other hand, price isn't such an object and you're comparison shopping - well, *I* still recommend the Zadro, but you might feel that, say, a sunrise alarm feature or a stronger battery capacity is worth the extra money - that'll be up to you, ultimately.

~ Ana Mardoll
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on October 26, 2009
Every year in August, I go into a mild funk. In the autumn, I get quite fatigued. I talked to my doctor about this fatigue a long time ago. He said I have a mild case of Seasonal Affectedness Disorder and advised me to spend as much time as possible outdoors during autumn and winter. I sleep well, and live a fairly healthy lifestyle, and trusted his advice. However, it did not work and finally this year I decided to try a SAD light.

I researched the internet for the various forms of light therapy including white, "natural daylight" and blue light and decided blue was a good fit for me. I chose this item because of the price. There may be better, more expensive units but ever the skeptic, I went for the low price. This is, after all, an alternative therapy. The makers and sellers of these products can make carefully worded but inflated claims, and raise their prices to match those claims. Alternatively, they could actually make a better product. Since I could go wrong on this purchase, I went for a low price.

I am very happy with this product. I do keep messing up the clock, but have no problems with any of the other features. After a period of adjustment, working it into my daily routine, I am indeed starting to feel the benefits. I will not lie to you and say that I find getting up in the morning any easier. When I hear the alarm clock, I feel the love for my pillow and blankets acutely! I hate to get up! But after I have had my light therapy, I notice an energy boost, and I just feel better. I feel more positive, confident and at ease. I have also decreased my caffeine intake.

This unit is lightweight and portable and comes with a pretty nice case. It is padded black fabric with a compartment for the lamp and the cord.

This is a good item to try; I am so glad I did. Take THAT, ugly old winter!
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on November 12, 2009
I bought this since I live in Chicago and the winter months are awful. I have mild SAD, and lack any
energy due to the weather and my schedule. One of the benefits that were completely unexpected was
the surge of energy. I go 12 hrs with minimal coffee, and no naps. I get up for work at 430 am
and don't need to take naps anymore and I am eating less, in better moods, and overall just feel better. It is very interesting to have learned about sun gazing, and how the eye and brain uses the artificial light to create vitamins and nutrients and sort of re-set your body's clocks so you are producing melatonin less during the day (the chemical that makes you sleepy and regulates your sleep cycles) and more at night so you are sleeping normal. I am still planning to goto the eye doctor just to verify that this is totally safe, although it emits no UV rays but I just want to be sure. I did strain my eye a few times through accidentally looking to close at it. The directions say to glance at it, but I now don't let my eyes go anywhere near directly looking at it since it is a pretty powerful light and can bother your eyes so I am much more careful now. Also; BE Careful when you first turn it on. I plugged mine in and was looking right at it, and it was already on and totally shocked my eyes. However, I highly recommend this little product. It is worth the small price, and is easy to travel with. I have been recommending it to everyone, and plan on bringing it with me on an upcoming trip. I could not not be more pleased!
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on November 14, 2009
Since this light is well under half the cost of the other SAD lights I've seen, I was fairly skeptical that it would actually be effective. However during the very first session, a very dark and rainy day, I noticed I immediately felt less dreary. In under a week, I was actually sleeping within minutes of hitting the sack, instead of lying in bed tossing and turning for an hour or two as usual. I also find myself voluntarily getting up about an hour earlier than usual, even on weekends! I'm just not tired anymore when I wake up, no more dragging myself out of bed. I have completely eliminated all naps too.

My mood is much brighter and I definitely have more energy. I also deal with a lot of anxiety, and this light has really calmed my unnecessary worries. It's a lot harder to sit and worry about things when you're happy most of the time! I am a pretty emotional person, and the effect of this light has been so dramatic that family and friends have been making comments about how nice it is to see me so much happier.

I like to hook my light over a lamp shade (be wary of hot light bulbs as it could potentially melt the stand) so it's above my eyes beaming down on the side of my face. You know when the light is situated at the right angle cause you feel like the a sunbeam is hitting the side of your eye but you don't need sunglasses cause you are not facing the beam from the front. I do not use the timer feature cause I'm addicted to the thing and prefer to enjoy it off and on all day. I do have to be sure not to continue my basking after 5:00 or I have trouble getting to sleep.

The drawbacks I've found are that the stand is, as everyone else stated, very flimsy. Mine broke within the first week but I just taped it and it's fine. The clock is in military time, which is not very useful for us civilians, and occasionally the clock and/or the light will just stop working. Fortunately a quick punch of the reset button on the back resolves this immediately. However none of these drawbacks have any effect on the main feature of the light which is all I'm interested in anyway. This is the least expensive 10,000 lux blue therapy light I could find and I feel that those inconveniences are well worth the amount of money saved on a more expensive light.

I highly recommend this light to EVERYONE, whether depressed, anxious or not. You don't have to suffer from a specific condition to enjoy the sensation of being in the sun during dark, dreary winter days!
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on January 2, 2009
I was unsure about buying this, 1) because I didn't think it would work and 2) because I read conflicting reports on the blue UV light therapy.

I am happy to report that this device has worked wonders for me with my mood, energy level and sleep. I've been using it for two weeks, an hour in the morning, and I can really feel a difference.

As far as the light goes, I use it at the high level and have gotten a headache if I stare directly at it for more than a second. I think I may try reducing the intesity and see how that works.

I have nothing but good things to say and if I could give this 10 stars, I would!
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