If this looks bleak, you’ll want SAD lights.
Photo: Francesca Russell / Getty Images
Ah, winter: that time of year when the cold mornings are darker than the sunny days when you really want to leave your apartment. Not surprisingly, it is during this season that some people – who may not be depressed – begin to feel anxious, sad, tired, irritable, and even hopeless. In what is perhaps the most relevant acronym of all time, the condition is known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
In preparation for this upcoming season, we spoke with psychologists to better understand the condition and determine the best ways to treat it.
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression. New York-based psychologist Sabrina Romanoff explains that the illness “is characterized by a repetitive seasonal pattern, with symptoms typically lasting about five months, when they appear in the fall and in remission in the spring. However, SAD can strike at any time of the year. “Symptoms associated with SAD include those typically observed in classic depression, such as loss of interest in activities, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating and changes in appetite and sleep.
According to Norman Rosenthal, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine who first described the disorder in 1984, about 5% of the population suffers from SAD, and as is the case with most types of depression, one 2000 study from Americans. The Academy of Family Physicians found that the disorder affects a disproportionate number of women. Dorothy Sit, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, told the Cut that the disorder could be related to a disruption of your circadian rhythm in the winter.
While there is no definitive answer to what causes SAD, there are several key factors that influence it. When it comes to winter weather and SAD, psychologist and founder of the AAKOMA Project, Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, explains that “shorter days and less exposure to daylight can affect It affects our mood and for some people it affects so much that they perceive themselves as experiencing symptoms of depression.”
Another factor is the change of habit. Unlike summer, winter forces everyone to stay indoors and can cause major changes in your life. You may be used to walking home from work every day or eating out with friends in the park once a week, and that could change as the temperature drops, so that could affect your health. your current mood.
In addition to clinical therapies, a common treatment for SAD is bright light therapy, which involves sitting or working near a light therapy box that produces the recommended 10,000 lux. A 2017 study published in Journal of Neurological and Mental Illness found that after just one hour-long phototherapy session, subjects had “modest improvements in symptoms of SAD depression”. As recommended by Per Sit, the best way to get the benefits of light therapy is to sit in front of the SAD lamp for about 30 minutes, ideally right after waking up.
Even if you don’t have SAD, most people’s circadian rhythms are off in the winter, and sitting in front of SAD lights can only help. Just be careful if you have a history of clinical depression or bipolar disorder – psychologists say lights can interact with medications or produce an exaggerated response, so it’s best for those with these conditions. This should consult a medical professional first.
In a word, light therapy is like a little sun in your room that works to increase serotonin levels in your brain. “This supplemental light source works by mimicking the biology of natural light and its benefits for your brain and body,” says Romanoff. “It also works by rebalancing your circadian rhythms during the winter months, when daylight is limited. “
When it comes to actually sitting down and using it, Dr. Thea Gallagher, a psychologist and assistant professor at NYU, recommends that light therapy be used within the first 20 to 30 minutes. after waking up. Instead of it being something you use all day, she explains that you should keep it about 16 to 24 inches away from your face and always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with SAD or you’re simply looking to play with light therapy, read on for the best 10,000 lux SAD lamps on the market.
If you want a therapy light that doesn’t look like a therapy lamp, then this is the best option for you. The lamp looks like something other than MoMA Design Store. Aside from the reviewers raving about its beauty, they also love the brightness setting, which you can adjust from very bright to dim, and even has three daylight color options.
With high and low settings, this versatile lamp allows you to adjust light levels based on how you feel. A reviewer would give this six stars if they could. If you’re still unconvinced, another wrote, “Now I feel like I’ve been given my life back and not just half a person for half a year.”
Place it next to your couch or bed so you can relax in the morning while absorbing the light. The lamp is four meters tall and has a rotating head. One even used the lamp in the spring to “seed” – a sign that this lamp is the next best thing to actual sunlight.
With adjustable height and angle, this lightweight and easy-to-use lightbox features a sleek silver design. Critics praise their ability to improve their mood in just a few days.
Create a sunny temporary window by mounting this light on your wall – a welcome alternative when the sky outside is pitch black at 5pm. It also has a sleek design, as well as adjustable lighting and timer settings.
Not only does this lamp provide 10,000 lux brightness, but it also features an alarm clock, wireless phone charging, and a USB port. Since it’s so small, it’s better for milder symptoms, but since it takes up less space on a desk or bedside table, it’s ideal for a quick serotonin fix.
If you don’t have a lot of power left in your room, then a portable box light is the answer. It’s small and sleek while still generating up to 7,000 lux. While that’s a bit below the recommended 10,000 lux, it’s still a good choice if you can move and transport it easily.
This article was originally published on February 6, 2020. If you purchased something through our links, New York can earn an affiliate commission. This post has been updated throughout.
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