Winter can be a dreary time. Depending on where you live, cold weather can stretch on seemingly forever, and sometimes it feels like the sun doesn't come out for months on end. It's not unusual to feel a little low while waiting out the harsh weather, but for some people, the wintertime blues can actually be a serious medical condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is recognized as a type of depression that can leave you feeling moody and out of energy. Fortunately, some people find they can help their SAD with certain types of indoor lighting. Read on to learn more.
Help for SAD in Your Electrical Work
Seasonal affective disorder can affect different people to different degrees. Many people find that their symptoms can be alleviated with indoor lighting that mimics the light that you would experience outside on a sunny day. The science behind how light boxes work isn't totally iron-clad, but researchers believe that certain lights cause chemical changes in your brain that can alleviate the SAD symptoms.
“Bright light works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms,” writes Dr. Michael Craig Miller in the Harvard Health Blog. “Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day can restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus banish seasonal symptoms.”
Finding the Light that Works for You
Generally speaking, people use light to battle SAD by sitting for short periods of the day, perhaps 30 minutes in the morning, in front of lights that are far brighter than normal indoor lighting. These lights can't come close to matching the output of the sun, of course, but many people find that they help make up the difference and play a vital role in improving their mood.
Keep in mind that winter lights are not FDA approved medical devices, and there's no firm consensus about which ones work best. Consult with your doctor, or try out several to find the light box that works best for you. Some of the features that you should consider are how bright the light is, how much UV light it emits, what type of bulbs it uses and what color the light is.
Leave the Electrical Work for Electricians
If you ever feel like your seasonal depression is more serious than you can handle yourself, make an appointment with a mental health professional. A counselor can help you with other strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy or medication if boosting your light intake isn't working on its own. For some people, light therapy can be effective when used in conjunction with other methods.
When you need help installing the lights themselves, or need other electrical work handled around your home, call an expert electrician right away.