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With many of us spending more time indoors than ever before and winter bringing shorter days, you may find that the lack of light exposure has you feeling a bit off. The decrease in sunlight impacts people in different ways, with some developing a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the American Psychological Association, SAD comes with many of the same symptoms as depression: fatigue, lack of interest, sleep difficulty (or, on the other hand, excessive sleeping), and feelings of hopelessness and despair. Thankfully, there are several ways you can manage SAD, but one popular method is light therapy. And if you want to see if light therapy is the right option for you, there are plenty of high quality and affordable options out there.
How Light Therapy Lamps Work
Since SAD is largely related to a lack of sunlight, light therapy is a method of getting your body — and your mental health — back on track. Light therapy lamps, or light boxes, typically provide 10,000 lux (a measure of light intensity) and can help restore your body to a normal circadian rhythm to keep SAD symptoms at bay, according to Harvard Medical School’s health blog. Generally, you would use your light therapy lamp by sitting close to it with your eyes open, but not looking directly at it, for 30 minutes a day. It’s best if you do so early in the day, when you first wake up.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your light therapy lamp, HuffPost has a roundup of helpful tips.
Note: Light therapy may not work the same for everyone and can have side effects, so it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before trying it.
This post was originally published on November 5, 2017, and has since been updated. Nicole Lund and Sarah M. Vazquez contributed to reporting.