Salt lamps are popular across the globe. Not only are they a beautiful decorative home accessory, many people say that there are numerous benefits to salt lamps, not least of which is the belief that they can help you sleep better.
Now, in the interest of being open and honest, it is advisable to point out that there is no scientific evidence to support these various beliefs. But, it is an interesting subject all the same. Scroll on to learn everything you need to know about salt lamps and the perceived benefits of using them.
What does a salt lamp actually do?
There are many perceived benefits to having a salt lamp in your home. From claims that they cleanse and deodorise the air to the belief that salt lamps will improve your mood and boost concentration, here are eight different reasons why using one in your home might be a good idea.
1. Salt Lamps Cleanse the Air
Quite possibly the most renowned benefit of a salt lamp is its ability to cleanse the air. People claim that a salt lamp can remove dust, pollen, and even cigarette smoke from the air inside your home.
Himalayan salt lamps use hygroscopy (1) to purify the air. This basically means they attract water molecules from the surrounding environment and absorb them. This also helps to eliminate any particles of dust, pollen, etc being carried by those water molecules as they are also absorbed into the salt crystal.
And, as the lamp warms up from the heat produced by the light bulb, the water evaporates back into the air. But particles of dust, pollen, etc remain trapped within the salt.
2. Salt Lamps Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Given that Himalayan salt lamps are believed to remove microscopic particles of dust, pollen, and other allergens from the air in your home, a salt lamp is believed to alleviate allergy symptoms (2).
3. Salt Lamps Help to Ease Coughing
Once your Himalayan salt lamp has warmed up and hygroscopic cycling has begun, it will also changes the charge of the molecules which are released. Most homes are filled with positively charged ions that are created by a number of things in our homes, especially electronics and tech (3).
Breathing lots of positive ions causes the cilia (microscopic hairs) that line our trachea can’t function as effectively as they usually would. But, just as a Himalayan pink salt lamp absorbs water and removes particles from the air, it also removes the positive ions (4). And, as the cleansed water vapor is released back into the air, so are the negative ions. And negative ions help to increase cilial activity and keep your lungs clear (5).
And clearer lungs basically means less coughing due to less irritants making into your airways.
4. Salt Lamps Increase Energy Levels
Following on from what we’ve learned about positive ions and the negative effects they have on our bodies, it’s also good to know that positive ions deplete our bodies’ energy reserves (6).
So, if you constantly feel tired and can’t seem to fathom why, a Himalayan salt lamp is worth a try. And if it’s due to the amount of positively charged ions in your home, it’s say that should notice a difference to your energy levels within a week or two.
5. Salt Lamps Help You Sleep Better
It is believed that yet another side effect of being over-exposed to positive ions in the air is a distinct lack of quality sleep. This is because positively-charged particles reduce the supply of blood and oxygen to our brain. What ensues is irregular sleep patterns and in some cases insomnia (7).
This is where a Himalayan salt lamp comes to the rescue. Salt lamps generate negative ions. Keeping one or two (if you have the space)in your bedroom is believed to improve air quality and in turn, you should achieve a better night’s sleep.
6. Salt Lamps are Believed to Improve Concentration
Salt lamps are said to be great at enhancing your mood. People also claim that they are great at improving concentration. Again, this is down to the effect that negative ions have on our bodies in improving blood and oxygen supply to our brains and other organs (8).
7. Salt Lamps for Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some people liken the soft, natural light given off by a salt lamp to the warm glow of sunshine and as such suggest that they help to relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you’d like some professional advice on dealing with seasonal affective disorder, check out what our resident Sleep Expert Dr Sophie Bostock has to say on the matter here.
8. Salt Lamps Can Reduce Static Electricity in the Air
Static electricity is a bug bear that, unfortunately, we all have to live with. But salt lamps help to neutralise the ionised particles in the air. And these are what happen to cause static electricity. Okay, this isn’t a major benefit, but it can help to prevent your hair from frizzing (9)!
How to use a salt lamp
To take advantage of all the benefits offered by your salt lamp, you should leave it on all the time (10). As salt lamps are hygroscopic, they draw in water from the surrounding air which can result in them “leaking” water.
It’s important to note that some leaking is normal and nothing to worry about. That said, try to keep your salt lamp dry wherever possible.
And, by keeping your lamp switched on, it will remain warm, which will result in any water your salt lamp collects evaporating straight away.
But, if the weather has turned humid, more steps are needed to prevent the lamp from leaking. Check out some things you can try to resolve the issue of a leaking salt lamp:
- Use higher wattage bulbs. The higher the wattage, the more heat a bulb will generate. And the more heat being generated, the more efficiently the water will evaporate. If considering upping the wattage of the bulb you’re using, we’d recommend referring to the manufacturer-issued compatibility guidelines beforehand. These will inform you of the highest wattage bulb that would be recommended for safe use.
- Avoid humid rooms. When choosing a spot in your home for your salt lamp, steer clear of humid spaces such as the kitchen or the bathroom. High humidity will only add to amount of water your lamp will try to absorb and cleanse.
- Use coasters or placemats. Rest your salt lamp on a coaster or placemat, especially if you’re placing it on a wooden surface that is more at-risk of damage from salt water.
- Dab your lamp dry. You can use a lint free cloth to dry off your salt lamp every now and again if you notice that it’s getting a little too moist.
Should I use a salt lamp?
Well, choosing whether or not to use a salt lamp is a matter of personal preference. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. But equally, there is no real downside to using a salt lamp in your home. It will either work for you, or it won’t.
Do salt lamps actually help with sleep?
Many people fully believe in the many benefits that salt lamps claim to offer. But the truth is that what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. If you’ve been tempted to give a slat lamp a go in your home, then go for it – there’s nothing to lose in trying it out.
And for some science-backed, better-sleep solutions, head to our Sleep: Back to Basics blog post written by the Bensons resident sleep expert Dr Sophie Bostock.
- Calm Before the Storm: How Weather Changes Can Create Fatigue (why-am-i-always-tired.org)