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light therapy for SAD

5 Bright Ideas for Coping with Darker Days

You can brighten your mood during winter's dark days with 5 simple strategies, including light therapy for SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

By Megan Othersen Gorman

tags: DEPRESSION, SLEEP



RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Does winter get you down? Plenty of people suffer mood changes ranging from mild “winter doldrums” to full-blown seasonal affective disorder (aptly acronymed SAD), all due to the decrease in daylight that occurs in fall and winter and the hormonal changes that coincide with it.

“SAD is a serious condition—a subtype of major depressive disorder in which life can be severely compromised by fatigue, low mood, anxiety, reduced sex drive, and more,” says psychologist and SAD specialist Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. “But SAD is really just the tip of the iceberg," he adds. Far more of us experience similar but less intense symptoms, becoming just short of clinically depressed. And that’s just, well, sad.

Light therapy for SAD, and other tactics, will combat both general seasonal sadness as well as full-blown disorder, Terman says. Here's what you can do:

# 1: Stop hitting the snooze button.

# 2: Eat at the same time every day.

# 3: Schedule some outside time.

# 4: Let there be light.

# 5: Win the battle of the bulb.


Published on: September 14, 2009
Updated on: October 6, 2011



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Vitamin D in particular may have the power to prevent and even treat symptoms of depression. Vitamin D is known to increase serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps maintain a level mood and can reduce your chances of feeling sad. Vitamin D also helps the body produce dopamine, a powerful mood improving agent.

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Suncreen is important for preventing skin cancer, but it is still important to have 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day to get the ample amounts of vitamin D that your body craves.

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This article on five bright

This article on five bright ideas for coping with darker days is good. There are many ways one can get away from sadness or depression. Light to be used for coping with low moods is a great idea. I think surrounding one with lights can be beneficial. According to the article, light boxes can be used as well. I think if you want more light you can call commercial lighting suppliers to do the light set-up. They will help you.
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They Do Work

I find that just sitting by a bright window for breakfast works as good as a light box and saves me money (both on the box and the electric). If it's a sunny day and the sun in coming in the window in the afternoon I'll go sit in it as well to get as much sun as I can. Making the most of those little opportunities really helps in the dark months!

Setting a regular sleep/wake up schedule works like a charm, for both SAD and insomnia. As does trying to get some exercise every day, especially outdoors. I'm using most of these, except the light box. I also take Vitamin D which helps. I not only have been feeling better since making these changes I haven't gotten a cold or flu since either (for the last 2 years).

SAD and Viutamin D - response

Beyond the suggestions made in the article, there are numerous other potential fix-its, but without clinical experience and trials they cannot be recommended at this point. Several people have indeed found Vitamin D supplements useful for SAD -- but many more have not. The positive evidence is still quite anecdotal. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking this step in order to avoid overdose toxicity.

SAD and vitamin D

I find it interesting that Vitamin D3 supplements weren't explored or mentioned in this article. I am on a prescribed dose right now because my levels were so low. It wiped out my SAD last winter and I'm still catching up metabolically speaking. I'm hoping the SAD stays at bay because of it this year. Over the counter D3 is good, too. the amounts that are put in orange juice and milk barely scratch the surface for what our bodies need. Especially if you live in a northern latitude.

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