Feeling the blues? Try light therapy - GulfToday

Feeling the blues? Try light therapy

light therapy 1

Light therapy is known to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. TNS

Gulf Today Report

The stress-inducing Covid-19 pandemic that started last year has spilled over into 2021 as well, with the 24-hour negative news cycle ceasing to end.

Add to it the cold, gloomy days of winter, and a person's mental health is sure to deteriorate leading to seasonal affective disorder — a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons.

Dr Craig Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist, says one of the most effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder is exposure to artificial light or light therapy.


Harry and Meghan quit social media

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip receive COVID-19 vaccine

WhatsApp's new privacy terms Everything you need to know

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr Sawchuk explains how to incorporate light therapy into your daily routine.

For those looking to banish the blues during these testing times, Dr Sawchuk suggests giving light therapy a try.

"Light therapy is one of our effective treatments that is actually really easily tolerated," says Dr Sawchuk.

light therapy 33 Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression and light therapy is a treatment for SAD. TNS

"Rarely do people have side effects with it. And it's a pretty portable type of intervention.

Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Dr Sawchuk recommends using a 10,000-lux light box or lamp within the first hour of waking up for about 20 minutes.

"That tends to be about the sweet spot of exposure to that light. You want to make sure that the light is sitting about an arm's length or so in front of you. You don't have to stare directly at the light, but you want to keep your eyes open.

"So you could be doing things like having breakfast or a cup of coffee, watching TV, or working online," says Dr Sawchuk.

The doctor encourages people to continue using light therapy even once winter is over or whenever their mood starts to naturally improve.

Related articles