Full Spectrum Lighting for Depression
Now that winter is coming up, the days are getting shorter and we will see less time that we can spend in the sun. There are even days when the sun won’t come out, which can make winter even harder. For some individuals, this is a time that is cozy and nostalgic. For others, winter is difficult and they may feel sad, tired, and unmotivated to do anything. No matter how badly winter affects you, everyone will notice a difference in their mood when they spend less time in the sun.
One safe and effective treatment that you can use to help with the winter blues, or SAD, are full spectrum lights. Let’s take a look at what the winter blues are all about and how full spectrum lights may be the cure that you need.
What are the Winter Blues
While we may call them the winter blues, this is technically something known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that many people feel related to the seasons and occurs during winter. Those who suffer from it will start to display symptoms of sadness and depression that start with the cooler days of fall and go all the way through the winter months.
There are a number of symptoms that are common with SAD. Some of these include:
- Lots of trouble concentrating on anything that needs to get done.
- Having lots of sleep problems
- Feeling agitated, sluggish, and struggling with your energy.
- Feeling hopeless and depressed most of the winter.
The main cause of SAD is that we aren’t getting enough sunlight during the winter months. Direct sunlight is able to help us stimulate the hypothalamus, which is the part in our brain that is linked over to the internal clocks of the body. This helps control a number of things, including our sleep-wake schedule.
If we do not get enough bright light to help stimulate this part of the brain, it is likely that we will produce more melatonin, the sleep hormone, while decreasing how much serotonin is produced, which is the hormone that will make us feel good and can regulate our moods.
What is Full Spectrum Light?
When you use a full spectrum light bulb, you will notice that it will emit a light spectrum that is able to simulate the same spectrum that is found in natural sunlight. You can use this without worrying about any damage to the body and without any restrictions, but it is pleasant and beautiful compared to some other options that you use.
Because it will mimic the same wavelengths that you see in the sun, these full spectrum lights can be used to give you some of the same benefits that you will get if you spent your day outside in the sun. Since lack of direct sunlight will often cause SAD and other depression disorders, using the full spectrum light to help replace the sun can be the best way to help cure depression.
Will Full Spectrum Lights Help with Seasonal Depression?
This type of light therapy is able to help with SAD and other forms of seasonal depression. While it does need some more research to help see whether it is effective as a standalone treatment of SAD. If you are always working with a doctor for your seasonal depression, you will need to discuss using this type of treatment with them before you start.
These bulbs and light boxes are able to work well to make us feel better, and can work as a great treatment for those with mild forms of depression. If you do not feel great during the winter and you have some of the symptoms of SAD as well, then using some of these full spectrum lights can be the cure you need.
How Can I Use Full Spectrum Light?
One of the best ways to get all the healthy benefits from full spectrum lights is using a light therapy box. This is a tool that will provide striking white light using, in most cases, fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs will have a color temperature that is somewhere between 5000 to 6500K. This is the average color temperature that we will see with the sun at noon. They will often have a more energetic wavelength like the sun as well.
As you use these boxes, you will notice they have a very powerful light. They should not be used to keep your home illuminated because they are meant as a type of therapy. To see them work for SAD and other forms of depression, you need to spend about half an hour a day during the winter in front of the box. This allows your whole body to receive the right amount of simulation to see the benefits.
There are also full spectrum light bulbs that you can use if you do not want to work with the box. You can use these in the same way that you would a regular light bulb to help you keep your home nice and bright. But you will notice that the light is much brighter than a regular lightbulb. You can then turn on the lights and do what you would like around the home, enjoying the benefits of having more sunlight in your life.
Full spectrum light is an effective way to help deal with depression, especially during the winter months. Since so many people suffer during the winter because they are without the sunlight to help release happy hormones that make them feel good. Using this kind of light is a good replacement for the sun when you can’t get outside and enjoy the sun.
Even a few minutes a day under some of these lights will make a big difference and can cure depression during the winter without all of the harmful side effects of drugs and other medications. If you suffer from SAD or other forms of depression, it may be worth your time to discuss using full spectrum light with your doctor to see if it is a good treatment for you.