The night we turn back the clocks for Daylight Savings Time has always been for the universe’s invitation for me to get out my mammoth HappyLite from the bedroom closet and start soaking in the 10,000 lux that I hope soaks lots of sanity into my head.
I realize that Daylight Savings doesn’t take the sun away. It merely feels like I’m getting less sunlight because by the time I pick my kids up from sports practices, it’s dark and I want to take my bath and go to bed.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is pretty easy to understand. As seasons shift, so does the amount of sunlight, which affects your circadian rhythm, the body’s internal biological clock that governs certain brain wave activity and hormone production. In some people, the changing of mood-related chemicals can cause depression.
Bright light therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for season affective disorder, also known as the winter blues.
Light boxes are the typical light system used for SAD in clinical studies. They are flat screens that produce full-spectrum fluorescent light, usually at an intensity of 10,000 lux. It is important to position the light box according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use it the same time each day. The light box is typically used for 30 to 60 minutes each day. Best results are found when used before 10 a.m. Some health clubs offer “light box rooms,” where you can go sit in front of the boxes if you can’t afford to buy one for yourself.
Published originally on Sanity Break at Everyday Health.