Finding you the perfect article...
Discover SAD-Savvy strategies to effectively manage seasonal depression.

Tis To Season To Be SAD-Savvy

10almonds is reader-supported. We may, at no cost to you, receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Seasonal Affective Disorder & SAD Lamps

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of the year; especially after the clocks recently went back and the nights themselves are getting longer. So, what to do in the season of 3pm darkness?

First: the problem

The problem is twofold:

  1. Our circadian rhythm gets confused
  2. We don’t make enough serotonin

The latter is because serotonin production is largely regulated by sunlight.

People tend to focus on item 2, but item 1 is important too—both as problem, and as means of remedy.

Circadian rhythm is about more than just light

We did a main feature on this a little while back, talking about:

  • What light/dark does for us, and how it’s important, but not completely necessary
  • How our body knows what time it is even in perpetual darkness
  • The many peaks and troughs of many physiological functions over the course of a day/night
  • What that means for us in terms of such things as diet and exercise
  • Practical take-aways from the above

Read: The Circadian Rhythm: Far More Than Most People Know

With that in mind, the same methodology can be applied as part of treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Serotonin is also about more than just light

Our brain is a) an unbelievably powerful organ, and the greatest of any animal on the planet b) a wobbly wet mass that gets easily confused.

In the case of serotonin, we can have problems:

  • knowing when to synthesize it or not
  • synthesizing it
  • using it
  • knowing when to scrub it or not
  • scrubbing it
  • etc

Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants that, as the name suggests, inhibit the re-uptake (scrubbing) of serotonin. So, they won’t add more serotonin to your brain, but they’ll cause your brain to get more mileage out of the serotonin that’s there, using it for longer.

So, whether or not they help will depend on you and your brain:

Read: Antidepressants: Personalization Is Key!

How useful are artificial sunlight lamps?

Artificial sunlight lamps (also called SAD lamps), or blue light lamps, are used in an effort to “replace” daylight.

Does it work? According to the science, generally yes, though everyone would like more and better studies:

Interestingly, it does still work in cases of visual impairment and blindness:

How much artificial sunlight is needed?

According to Wirz-Justice and Terman (2022), the best parameters are:

  • 10,000 lux
  • full spectrum (white light)
  • 30–60 minutes exposure
  • in the morning

Source: Light Therapy: Why, What, for Whom, How, and When (And a Postscript about Darkness)

That one’s a fascinating read, by the way, if you have time.

Can you recommend one?

For your convenience, here’s an example product on Amazon that meets the above specifications, and is also very similar to the one this writer has 😎


Stay Healthy With Our Daily Newsletter

Our newsletter is our pride and joy

It’s 100% free, and you just need to enter your email below to sign up

If you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe at any time

See More

Related Posts