A lot of us start to feel the blues this time of year as daylight becomes shorter and ends earlier in the day. The decrease in sunlight impacts people in different ways and some develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that’s largely a result of lack of sunlight. According to the American Psychological Association, SAD comes with many of the same symptoms as depression: fatigue, lack of interest, sleep difficulty (or, on the other hand, excessive sleeping), and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
There are several ways you can manage SAD, but one popular method is light therapy — and the good news is, if you want to see if light therapy is the right option for you, there are plenty of high quality and affordable options out there.
How Light Therapy Lamps Work
Since SAD is largely related to lack of sunlight, light therapy is a method of getting your body—and your mental health—back to normal. Light therapy lamps, or light boxes, which typically provide 10,000 lux (a measure of light intensity), can help restore your body to a normal circadian rhythm to keep SAD symptoms at bay, according to Harvard Medical School’s health blog. Generally, you would use your light therapy lamp by sitting close to it with your eyes open but not looking directly at it for 30 minutes a day—it’s best if you do so early in the day, when you first wake up.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your light therapy lamp, HuffPost has a roundup of helpful tips.
Note: Light therapy may not work the same for everyone and can have side effects, so it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you try light therapy.
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