Winter is coming. Well, that depends on when you’re reading this. Cold weather and cloudy skies will put a lot of people in a state of gray. While a gloomy day can be welcome every so often, consistent lack of sunlight can cause feelings of depression and sadness amongst those that may not normally suffer from this type of feeling.
With over 16 million Americans suffering from seasonal affective disorder (according to the mayo clinic), research has been ongoing on how to treat this unique disorder. Also known as “the winter blues” or simply “feeling blah” seasonal affective disorder is a very real problem, but one that can be helped with different light sources.
Defining Seasonal Affective Disorder
Before treating SAD, doctors needed to understand why people that didn’t suffer from depression chronically were having similar symptoms. Enter Doctor Norman Rosenthal. Rosenthal named seasonal affective disorder back in the 1980s, after realizing that his depression was more prominent in the winter months than in the summer. Thanks to his research, SAD is now widely considered a legitimate disease, and is treated by medical professionals regularly.
What Can Cause Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is still undergoing research on the exact causes, however there are a few theories and factors that doctors consider as causes for seasonal affective disorder. These factors have a lot to do with light, and how light can affect our body’s natural rhythm.
Let’s start with circadian rhythm. Are you one of those people that can wake up at the same time each day without the help of an alarm clock? Or does your body know exactly when it’s time to sleep – and keep you heading to bed around the same time each night? If so, your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is spot on! This phenomenon can be thrown out of balance in the winter months. Why? Lack of sunlight! In the winter, we see less and less sunlight each day, and this causes our internal clock to throw off its timer… which can sometimes lead to depression. The Magic Light Bluetooth Bulb has a sunrise wake up timer that is especially helpful in the darker winter months. Set a gradual brightness to slowly wake you up to light, instead of an annoying alarm clock.
Melatonin is another factor in diagnosing SAP. Melatonin is a natural chemical produced regularly by our bodies. This helps to regulate sleep and mood patterns, and the more melatonin your body produces, the more tired you become! Melatonin is actually available for purchase over the counter, and is used as a natural remedy to help with sleep disorders.
Serotonin is another amazing chemical our body produces, and it is a huge mood booster! It’s known to increase mood, or in the case of minimal serotonin production, decrease mood, leaving a feeling of depression or sadness.
These are three major factors that can cause seasonal affective disorder, and here’s the connection – they all have to do with lack of natural light.
Natural Light and Depression
Our bodies are highly dependent upon natural light sources to maintain our moods. We’ve already talked about the way that different types of light can affect our productivity, creativity, and our sleeping habits. No doubt you’ve heard that humans function on different rhythms, and when these natural phases are thrown out of balance, it can lead to lack of sleep, irritability, or even depression.
Talk with your doctor first
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, using a light box could be a better option for you. Magic Light will not produce the same lux output as a light box designed specifically for (SAD).
The good news is that with a Magic Light smart bulb, you have the ability to change the color of your bulb to help change your mood. For example, the color yellow has shown to reduce depression. Light therapy is a treatment that many professionals are prescribing for those that suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Light boxes are used as an alternate source of sunlight, with smart bulbs mimicking the sun as closely as possible.
Studies with light therapy have shown improvement in many SAD sufferers.
Since Magic Light bulbs have the ability to not only set the brightness of your lights, but you also have a color spectrum at your fingertips, setting the proper color and intensity is as easy as swiping your finger along a phone app.
Before starting any type of light treatment and hoping to see significant results, it is extremely important to talk to your doctor and plan out a treatment regime that works for your specific case. He or she may recommend a certain type of light box – most doctors recommend 10,000 lux output for 30 minutes a day – and patients typically see a decrease in their depression during the winter months!
It’s crazy to think that one small thing like sunlight can have such an impact on so many pieces of our lives!
What do you think? Do you or someone you know suffer from SAD? Have you tried light therapy and been successful? We want to hear from you below!