Let There Be Light

This month, we experience the shortest daytime of the year in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, sunlight deprivation can make people feel lethargic and unhappy. For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or “winter depression,” less sunlight can cause oversleeping, social withdrawal and carbohydrate cravings, just to name just a few symptoms. SAD is thought to occur because less sunlight affects the body’s circadian rhythm (our internal clock) . Getting more light, and the right type of light in particular, is one way to combat seasonal doldrums. Many people feel better after sitting in front of a specialized light box for 20-60 minutes first thing in the morning, from late fall until the start of spring. Research also shows that spending more time under blue-enriched light could help. For anyone who suffers symptoms of depression in the winter months, whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with SAD, you may be able to lift your mood by spending more time outdoors and improving your indoor lighting, both at home and at work. In general, people feel happier in brighter conditions and more relaxed in warmer color temperature conditions.

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