The Winter of My Discontent
Every year at this time, I go from being perfectly happy, full of energy and in control of my life to feeling like an earth worm, spending all of my time in the dark. I wake in the dark, spend most of my day with gray, overcast skies, and go home in the dark. I used to think it was because of the cold, but each year I read more about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it sounds like me. Lethargic, fatiqued, mood swings…and the cravings. Don’t get me started about the second helping of pie for dessert.
You know, prior to electricity, we lived our lives in accordance with the sun. When it rose, so did we. When it set, we went to bed. Life was simple. Now, our day is extended, both in the morning and at night, so it stands to reason that our biological clock is still telling our bodies to sleep as the daylight hours shorten. This puts us out of sync with our fast paced lives. And, surprisingly enough, 4.5 to 6 million Canadians suffer with some form of seasonal affective disorder. So unless we are going to start living like bears, we need a little help.
More and more scientific evidence has surfaced about the benefits of light therapy. It’s all about the resetting of your brain’s biological clock. During the fall and winter months we receive less natural light, and as a result our blood hormone levels of melatonin are reduced. The brain’s biological clock does not function at its standard level. The biological clock controls the timing of events in your body – for example, when to eat and when to sleep. The application of light through the eyes can manipulate the body clock in the brain by increasing serotonin levels.
The answer seems to be very rational. Give your brain what it wants. Light! Light is measured in lux , so 20-30 minutes a day at 10,000 lux first thing in the morning is enough to get the body on track. Now, I know those of you who do not suffer from SAD or are not affected by a milder case called the “winter blues” think this is just another medicine man trick to sell gimmicky therapy. But, if you suffer from any of these symptoms, you will notice a difference pretty much right away. And that’s amazing when you look at the alternative.
So, how much is 10,000 lux? Well, for example, the light in your office may be 500 lux, the light in your living room only 200 lux. So, your “dose” of 10,000 lux light is a highly concentrated therapeutic treatment. Look for a product that has a proven track record. Look for a light therapy product with a white, fluorescent defused light that emits 10,000 lux of light. The light should be angle downward, away from direct penetration into the pupil of the eye. This light should be used for 30 minutes a day at a distance of 12 inches, preferably upon waking.
Shopparker.ca currently has Day Light Seasonal Affective Disorder lights on sale for $199.95 with free shipping in Canada. These lights meet all of the specified criteria set by light therapy experts. They come standard with height adjustable legs so the height and the angle of the light simulate outdoor daylight. They also come standard with a table stand and a wall mount so you can enjoy your light therapy your way. The Day Light light therapy box is flicker-free and has a two way light setting so you can have a 10,000 lux therapy and enjoy full bright task light at 7,000 lux at any time. The Day Light comes with a full five year warranty.
Enjoy the time you take for your treatment. Have breakfast, read or do paperwork. Consider this “me” time. The time when you come out of the shadows and back into the light!