Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes people to exhibit symptoms of a depressive state at a specific time of the year: the cold, dark winter months from November to February. Because days tend to be shorter during these months, SAD highlights the importance of exposure to natural daylight and of engaging in various mood-boosting activities.
Now, the good news: you may be able to reduce symptoms of SAD by increasing contact with natural light at home. You can do this by installing custom windows and investing in a light therapy device that can imitate the effects of sunlight.
Symptoms of SAD
Seasonal depression is associated with a biochemical imbalance in the brain from shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in the winter. It can create disruptions in one’s biological internal clock or circadian rhythm, thus affecting overall sleep and well-being.
The early onset of darkness can be difficult for those suffering from SAD. As days become shorter, people are forced to spend more daylight hours at work and get little to no exposure to sunlight while out and about or at home. Essentially, depressive symptoms can develop during the winter because lack of sunlight exposure exacerbates the difficulties of mood regulation.
Maximizing exposure to light and bringing positive energy into a living space can improve mood and help people cope with symptoms of SAD.
Tips for Combating SAD
Boosting Sunlight Exposure – Most people prefer to live under the warmth of the sun than under the glare of fluorescent bulbs. Natural light can boost the skin’s absorption of vitamin D and improve sleep, thereby reducing SAD-related symptoms. If possible, increase exposure to sunlight by spending time outdoors or by arranging your home so you are next to a window during the day.
Home Improvements – You can allow light into your living space or bedroom by opening curtains and pulling up blinds. In addition, there are several home improvements you can make to increase the amount of natural light that enters your home. A skylight, for instance, can provide more sunlight than a regular window can. Large windows also allow more daylight in and provide a room with a sense of spaciousness.
Artificial Light Fixtures
Update light fixtures by replacing old ones with LED bulbs. These bulbs emit the most light using the least amount of energy. You can improve the brightness of your space by simply swapping out dim fixtures with brighter models.
Light Therapy Options
A light therapy device can replicate the effects of natural light and trigger chemicals in your brain that help regulate mood. This light box emits bright light and filters out ultraviolet rays. It is meant to provide light exposure at par with light levels during the brighter seasons. Meanwhile, a Himalayan Salt Lamp can combat the lack of air circulation during cold months by absorbing indoor air pollutants. This is a stylish way of promoting a sense of warmth and safety to a room.
Home improvements that increase exposure to sunlight can have massive mood-boosting effects. You can explore the different options available for combating seasonal depression as these changes can alleviate the symptoms of depression and sadness in our loved ones and make the holiday season a time for true celebration and fellowship.