All About Your Health and Apex, NC

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Blue Light to Beat the Blues

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If you’re on the East Coast, you may have noticed that light still isn’t abundant, winter weather is still sticking around… and so are the winter blues. 

But did you know there’s something you can do about those feelings of sadness and lethargy brought on by winter’s lack of sunshine and warmth? (It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder – or SAD – by the way.)

Well, there are actually a lot of things you can do, but today we’re going to talk about a super easy one…

Light therapy!

Several decades ago researchers studied whether sitting in front of a bank of lights for 30-60 minutes might help reverse the seasonal sag in mood, and found that indeed some people seemed to respond very well.

In the most recent study of “light therapy”, sitting in front of a box of light every morning during a Canadian winter was as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac).

A light therapy box mimics outdoor light. Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD.

According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Typical recommendations include using the light box:

  • Within the first hour of waking up in the morning
  • For about 20 to 30 minutes
  • At a distance of about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from the face
  • With eyes open, but not looking directly at the light”

It’s best to talk with your health care provider about choosing and using a light therapy box.

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