With the fall season in full force and winter just around the corner, you may start to notice the affects of getting less sun. Here in New England, the days are getting shorter and the sun is making less appearances. Did you know that sunlight influences your overall well-being? In fall and winter, you may suffer from lowered spirits or seasonal depression due to a lack of sunlight. Most people feel the difference.
The reduced daylight hours have a negative effect on many people, whose morale, energy level, and well-being drop as the daylight hours decrease. This has also been tied to flu-season. We call this “seasonal depression” or “winter blues”.
What is the connection between sunlight and feeling a little down? Well, light plays an important role in regulating our internal biological clock. It controls several bodily functions that follow specific patterns, such as our waking and sleeping cycles, and the secretion of various hormones according to the time of day. The symptoms of depression are triggered by chemical imbalances in the brain which are caused by a lack of sunlight.
Light therapy is a non-medicinal treatment known for its effectiveness in countering the effects of fewer daylight hours in winter, including seasonal depression. It consists of exposing yourself to a bright light with a specific spectrum that resembles that of sunlight. I
Exactly how much light do we need?
To reap the benefits of light therapy, you must be exposed to a light with an intensity of more than 2,000 lux daily. In comparison, the light of a well-lit office is of 300 to 500 lux, while that of a fully sunny day can be over 100,000 lux. The clinically recognized standard for light exposure is 10,000 lux for 30 minutes every day, ideally in the morning.
It is recommended to begin treatment in the fall when daylight hours decrease and to continue until spring.
We offer heat and light therapy at Release Well-Being Center in Westborough, MA. Release is equipped with a Sun Sauna with 10,000 lux light exposure.
Check out a few of the amazing benefits of the Sun Sauna:
- Boosts serotonin which increases metabolism and improves mood
- Decreases melatonin production leading to increased energy
- Increases levels of vitamin D for improved bone health and lower the affects of seasonal depression and allergies
- Improves sleep by resetting your circadian rhythms