HEALTHY LIGHTING PROVIDES
RELIEF FROM THE WINTER BLUES
Many of us suffer from the Winter Blues or the more serious condition, Seasonal Affective Disorder, without realizing it. With the onset of fall and winter, the gloomy weather can trigger sadness, sleep difficulties, increased appetite, craving of carbohydrate rich foods, weight gain, lack of energy, irritability, anxiety, as well as concentration problems. If you experience any of these symptoms, light therapy might be the way to bring needed sunshine into your life.
At the beginning of the 20th century over 70% of North Americans worked outdoors thus benefiting from exposure to essential natural outdoor light. Now the majority of us spend our waking hours under artificial lights causing us to miss the portion of the sunís spectrum which is important in triggering proper melatonin secretion. It is estimated that over 38 million North Americans feel the effects of malillumination which can result in less energy and lower productivity.
When we suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and elevated melatonin levels we are missing the exposure to natural light that we enjoy with the longer days of summer. Researchers have recently discovered that full spectrum lighting, along with enhanced blue spectrum, has a greater impact on resetting our circadian rhythms (sleep pattern), melatonin production and can increase our energy levels. Also, enhancing the blue spectrum triggers newly discovered photoreceptors in the eye which are a part of our scotopic vision, increasing visual clarity and acuity. Light therapy is a non-invasive, healthy way to help our bodies deal with the lack of sunlight we all experience. If you feel gloomy during the winter months or suffer from depression, by spending approximately 30 minutes every morning using a light therapy product you could improve your mood and sleep cycles. The medical community deems it is necessary to use a light therapy product which produces 10,000 Lux of light intensity. It is also suggested to use a product that simulates the visible color spectrum of sunlight for optical comfort.
The best treatment for SAD is early-morning exposure to full-spectrum light. Researchers are now finding that the bodyís biological clock is most sensitive to the blue portion of the light spectrum. This finding promises to not only dramatically improve treatment for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder but to revolutionize indoor lighting for everyone. Our workplaces, schoolrooms and living environments can be improved by replacing traditional cool white bulbs with full spectrum bulbs. Headaches, eyestrain, and foggy thinking - symptoms most commonly attributed to stress or fatigue are actually the result of the antiquated fluorescent lighting still being used in 99% of schools and offices today. Many consumers are under the impression a traditional light box must be used to achieve light therapy which previously may have been true. Now multifunctional desk lamps and floor lamps (which produce 10,000 Lux) are available for both light therapy and task lighting. Make sure to select a dimmable model for optimal light level selection.
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