When I first passed a Himalayan salt lamp in Bed Bath & Beyond, I laughed at the strangeness of it. I thought if you lick it, would it taste like salt? Was the even a good idea? Soon after I remembered what I’d heard about salt therapy- how it treated allergies, ear infections, and myriad of other issues. I Googled the science behind this seemingly hokey salt lamp, and the wheels started turning.
Lauded as a natural deodorizer, an ionizer, and a chic piece of décor, I thought maybe, just maybe, a little salt therapy was just what I needed to cure my workday woes.
In my job I’m constantly connected to technology- more like attached at the hip. When not pounding the keys in my cube, I’m on the computer at home, on my laptop, fiddling with my tablet, or checking Facebook on my smartphone. All of that ionized activity can cause some moodiness.
It turns out electronic devices, computers, smartphones, fans, routers- everything that emits that low little hum of electricity creates positive ions in the air.
Positive! That’s a good thing, right? Nope.
An abundance of positive ions can cause headaches, feelings of depression, and other unsavory conditions, according to several sources.
Working full-time at the computer and part-time at my desk at home has made me no stranger to unexplained headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and irritability. I thought maybe those pesky positive ions could be at work, instead of my inclination to sleep fewer hours than I should.
Anyway, 20 percent off coupon in hand, I got myself a small “Himalayan Light” salt lamp.
My plan: document the change (if any) in my condition on a daily basis without otherwise changing my routine for one week in this toasty and humid month of July.
I plug in the lamp at my desk at home. It has a dimmer switch, so I put it on the highest setting. The lamp has to get warm to absorb the moisture in the air and emit the negative ions and neutralize the air. I sit down at my desk and boot up some Morrowind (an old favorite) after a long day at the office. Four hours later, the lamp is pretty warm to the touch, but not hot.
I have rats (on purpose) and they seem to like the orange light the lamp gives off. They’re quiet. The light is soothing.
11 p.m. comes. I move the lamp upstairs to sit beside my bed. I set it at about half strength and plopped on my sleeping mask.
A sound night’s sleep, I wake up a bit groggy but once I got going at work, I feel a bit more energetic than usual.
It’s Friday night and I stay with the man in my life over the weekends. He agrees to be a part of my experiment.
He convinces me to set the lamp at the opposite end of the room at a low setting. We fall asleep without issue.
The next morning I see the setting was too low- the lamp was not warm at all.
However, I did wake up much earlier than usual on the weekends- 8:30 a.m. I stay up the whole day and walk in excess of the recommended 10,000 steps without feeling too tired.
I crank the lamp a bit higher without the sir noticing. He knocks right out as always, but I’m restless. Quite literally in fact. Some nights I suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Usually when my legs get “itchy” it’s my cue to hit the hay, but I lay in bed with my legs twitching, itching, and no stretching or rolling over can sate the itch.
I get up, moan and whimper a while, take a supplement I had on hand and finally pass out some where around 3 a.m.
And I stay out. I don’t leave the hallowed mattress until about 1 p.m., and I’m groggy the whole day, despite the lamp’s magical, sciencey powers.
I resume my home routine, but I don’t shack up with the lamp until bedtime. I crank it so it’s slightly warm and ready my sleep mask.
I do stay up on the computer until nearly 2 a.m. and it’s hard to get up in the morning, but not nearly as bad as I expected.
Light on, mask donned, my first rendezvous with the lamp is bedtime again, though I did spend a few hours on the web on my desktop sans-lamp. Not a particularly sleepy day.
I don’t go to bed before midnight, and I don’t notice much in the way of sleep quality. Tired in the morning, but not much feelings of eye strain.
Last obligatory day with the lamp. I plug it in at my desk, get in a few hours. Bring it with me up to sleep. The mask has become routine.
The Verdict: Further investigation and testing required.