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Spreading Sunshine and Joy: Artificial Sunlight May Eliminate Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The Debbie Dragon Collection

This morning I look into the other studio and there’s this BRIGHT blue light on Debbie Dragon. Turns out she bought one of those artificial sunlight lamps that are supposed to help you fight Seasonal Affective Disorder aka S.A.D.

For the majority of people who suffer from feeling “down” during the winter months, it’s just a minor condition but for some – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a seriously disabling illness that can make it hard to function normally.

Many people get up before the sun in the winter months, and return home after its dark. The decrease of sunlight can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that often results in depression.  Winter depression has been studied extensively over the last 20 years and it is believed that SAD is a result of the amount of light absorbed in our eyes – a connection between melatonin and the optic nerve.

Some common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Inability to sleep – yet wanting to sleep
  • Craving sweets
  • Avoidance of social gatherings
  • Difficulty carrying out normal routine
  • Decreased ability to tolerate stress

The American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association both recommend “heliotherapy” which is the exposure to real or artificial sunlight to help control the daytime release of melatonin.  Using high-intensity light for 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily has been proven to relieve symptoms in about 85% of individuals with SAD.

So Debbie will try this light out and we’ll secretly shine it on Sean now and then to see if it can fix his mood.

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