Vitamin D is a nutrient known for being absorbed through the sun, but during this time of year in this part of the world, we do not have the luxury of the sun’s beautiful rays as much as we would during the summer months. So, what can one do if they are feeling sluggish or the onset of Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)? One way to combat this is to talk with your therapist or doctor about light therapy. Light therapy is an easy alternative to helping one treat certain ailments that are connected to vitamin D deficiencies such as SAD, dementia, jet lag, sleep disorders, nighttime work schedules, or non-seasonal depression.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is light therapy? Light therapy, is exposure to a device called a light therapy box for a set amount of time that according to mayoclinic.org is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep. After speaking with your doctor and making sure this type of therapy is right for you, this is what you can expect from your basic daily experience:
- Intensity. The intensity of the light box is recorded in lux, which is a measure of the amount of light you receive. For SAD, the typical recommendation is to use a 10,000-lux light box at a distance of about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from your face.
- Duration. With a 10,000-lux light box, light therapy typically involves daily sessions of about 20 to 30 minutes. But a lower-intensity light box, such as 2,500 lux, may require longer sessions. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and follow your therapist’s or doctor’s instructions. He or she may suggest you start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the time.
- Timing. For most people, light therapy is most effective when it’s done early in the morning, after you first wake up. Your therapist and doctor can help you determine the light therapy schedule that works best.
With the help of your therapist or medical doctor, you can find the right lighting and amount of time needed to help you get adjusted and start a routine in order to help you soak in a little more vitamin D – light!
By: Garcsa Brooks,
Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc
Interested in speaking with someone about Seasonal Affective Disorder or a therapy light? Give the office a call: 708-633-8000.