Data From newsweek.com/what-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad-lamp
As we discussed last week Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a reoccurring condition that usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. During that period of time, days are shorter, skies are often cloudy, there is less daylight, and the temperatures are cold. Research has shown a connection between less sunlight and SAD. SAD is more prevalent in the northern sector of the U.S., with Alaska annually leading with the highest percentage of SAD per capita. Seniors are often more vulnerable to SAD, primarily because of two reason: lowered mobility and less tolerance to cold temperatures.
However, science has developed specially designed lamps to treat SAD. The lamp tricks the brain into releasing serotonin, ‘the feel good” hormone. Not only have the lamps helped with SAD, they can be used for jet lag and circadian rhythm disorders (issues that disrupt the normal sleep/wake pattern)
Dr. Jeff Foster, primary care physician says, “there is good evidence for light therapy…” We know that bright light therapy reduces depression symptoms more than placebos in treating SAD.
SAD lamps, currently, are not regulated by the FDA. So it becomes vital for seniors to become aware of the key factor
- It must filter out UV light
- It must have a 10,000 LUX brightness.
A 10,000 LUX brightness is 20 times brighter than normal indoor light.
In choosing a lamp for yourself, seniors should consider the strength of the brightness and how long they want to sit in front of it. The brighter the lamp the less time is required however, the risk of headaches rises greatly.
SAD lamps have eased the depression symptoms in 85% of those patients who used the light 30-60 minutes daily. The lamps may take several weeks to treat the symptoms, but Dr. Foster suggests that after 6-weeks with no changes, to speak with your physician.