Light Therapy

I’ve been struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder this year more than usual, I guess it’s just been that kind of year. My therapist suggested I try light therapy, so I got a UV lamp and tried it out. I figured best case it will help, and worst case I’ll shine a bright light on myself for 30 minutes a day. I’ve only been trying it out for a few days, but I wanted to share my first impressions.

First off, let’s look at some of the science behind it, which I will try to explain the best I can with my very surface-level understanding of the topic, and I might not get things 100% right. Basically, our bodies take UV light and use that to create vitamin D. Usually, our bodies get plenty of UV light from the sun but during the winter months when we’re indoors most of the time and the days are so short, we don’t get as much as we need to make enough of vitamin D. These therapy lamps provide light your body can use instead! Why is this important? Vitamin D deficiency is linked to all kinds of depression, but especially SAD.

The process is pretty simple, following the instructions from my therapist I sat in front of the lamp for 30 minutes, and ensure it’s shining on you but not directly in your eyes. The great thing about this is you can do whatever you want, as long as you are stationary in front of the lamp for the full 30 minutes. I’ve been using it at my desk in the morning while I catch up on emails, and do prep work for my upcoming coding boot camp.

I’ve only been using it for about 5 days at this point, but I’ve already noticed a positive change. The fog I’ve had over my head for the last month or so has lifted, and I don’t feel as sluggish. The depression is still there, but it’s not so overpowering. The only real downside I found was getting headaches the first few days of use, which is something that can happen, but those are pretty much gone now.

So far, I would not hesitate to suggest a light therapy lamp to someone curious about them. There are plenty out there, for a wide range of prices, but I can’t speak definitively on the differences between them. This is definitely a topic I want to revisit once I’ve had some more experience, so stay tuned for that.

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