Feeling SAD? Light Therapy Can Affect Mood and Energy Level
The Ben Franklin Center Library has added a HappyLite sunshine simulator to its many resources
January 11, 2010
If you suffer from lack of energy, depression, and find your motivation waning, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the winter blues. SAD is a mood disorder that can cause depression during periods of the year when sunlight is less common. Sufferers feel the effects most during the dark winter months.
Other effects of SAD may include weight gain, excessive sleeping, and decreased desire for social activity. The distinguishing mark of SAD is that the symptoms come on during the autumn months—last throughout the winter—then fade as the sun returns in spring.
To prevent seasonal affective disorder and if your lifestyle allows it, go outside as often as possible when the sun is bright. Another way to compensate for a lack of time in sunlight is to sit in the light of a therapeutic lamp. With light therapy, light passes through the eye and causes a biochemical change in the brain that lifts mood and reduces symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
The Ben Franklin Center Library at Franklin Memorial Hospital has added a HappyLite sunshine simulator to its many resources for use by employees, patients, and the public.
For best results, users should sit within two feet of the therapeutic lamp with their eyes open—reading, writing, or working on a hobby. Typical exposure should be 15-30 minutes per day; after a week, there should be a noticeable improvement in mood and activity level.
Light therapy has been researched and deemed safe by leading institutions worldwide. However, it is recommended that individuals considering light therapy consult with their doctor first regarding any history of eye disease, as well as the appropriateness of light therapy.
Anyone interested in using the sunshine simulator is invited to stop by the library at Franklin Memorial Hospital on Mondays and Wednesdays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is located next to the main reception desk.
Subscribe to our RSS news feed