Craving the sunshine is something I long for. Even in these sub zero days, any tiny glimpse of the sun’s rays breaking through gets me running to the window to take it all in. Getting my daily dose of Vitamin D is an essential nutrient especially during the winter months. Because let’s face it, low amounts of vitamin D can make us more prone to illness and is responsible for depression and anxiety in some.
One way to beat the winter blues is the therapeutic use of light. Light therapy involves sitting close to a light box for 30 minutes a day, usually shortly after waking up. These types of boxes can provide 10,000 lux (a measure of light intensity) which is about 100 times brighter than typical indoor lighting, but only 1/5 the brightness of a sunny day. The idea behind the light box is that during each session your eyes must be open, so you can use this time to relax, eat or even read. It’s been found that individuals with winter depression often have an abnormally high level of melatonin but light therapy can bring it down to normal levels.
Light exposure influences our internal clock through “light sensitive” cells, which tell the brain whether it is daytime or nighttime, thus affecting our sleep patterns.
Decreased sunlight exposure affects circadian rhythms, which in turn affect mood. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, helping to ease winter blues and other depressions.
Bright light through your eyes stimulates the brain and increases serotoninactivity (serotonin is a kind of hormone associated with boosting mood), helping you feel calm and concentrated.
I’d been putting off investing in a sad light lamp but after a depressing few months I decided to bite the bullet and purchase one.
I’m pleased with the quality of my new lamp as it fits discreetly with my décor. The white lamp looks very much like an iPad with simple sensor touch buttons to the front. These buttons allow you to opt for 15 minute interval timers, so get 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes then 60 minute session timers.
The brightness does feel like natural daylight and less harsh on my eyes although the instructions do advise not to directly look straight into the light. I’ve only used the slightly dimmer light setting for 15 minutes a day so far and it’s amazing how much enegerised I feel. It certainly lightens my mood during these winter days. Not sure if the benefits are being felt yet but I do feel more relaxed after use.