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NEW "happy" lamps help banish the winter blues

woman in winter sunFeeling sluggish or irritable? Craving more carbs than usual? Can’t wait to hit the sack earlier and for longer?

You might be in a post-holiday slump, but for about 1 in 50* northern climate dwellers, changes in feelings of well-being could signal the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a form of depression that can start in the late fall but most often hits during the deep winter month of February and March when daylight hours are short and the weather is cold and bleak.

Although more common during our colder seasons, SAD can also occur anywhere working or living conditions are poorly or badly lit, or when shift work reverses your day-night routines. If you experience ongoing symptoms of SAD, it’s important to get help from a doctor or mental health professional.

* About 2 to 6% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime (Source: Mood Disorders Association of Ontario)

Shedding some light on the 'blahs'

For those of us with milder, temporary symptoms—winter blues, February blahs, springtime lethargy—mental health workers agree that the best ways to get a much-needed mood boost during seasonal doldrums are to:

  • Keep regular sleep/wake hours and get enough sleep
     
  • Get moving with more indoor or outdoor physical activity
     
  • Eat healthy—fruit, veggies, whole grain/high fibre carbs, and omega 3-rich foods
     
  • Increase your exposure to light by way of natural sunlight or artificial 'daylight' light

And here’s how the Library can help you.

Introducing BPL’s “happy” lamps

Now you can get a daily dose of brightness at all neighbourhood branches (except Kilbride), under an innovative light therapy floor lamp that delivers mega-bright UV filtered light. Unlike fluorescent bulbs that can be tiring to sit under, specialized light therapy bulbs emit the full spectrum of light—the same as natural sunlight.

Light therapy is considered an effective treatment for a variety of conditions including SAD.

How to use the lamp

DO…

  • Sit about 20" away from the lamp.
     
  • Sit facing the lamp, with the lamp positioned about 12" to the right or left of directly in front of you.
     
  • Keep your eyes open, but DO NOT look directly at the light. Avoid wearing sunglasses, tinted glasses, or a hat with a visor as they block the good light. Clear glasses are fine.
     
  • Use it any time of day. Morning and mid-afternoon are ideal times, but NOT within 4 hours before bedtime, which can affect your ability to get a good sleep.
     
  • Share. If someone is waiting to use the lamp, please limit your visit. Kindly ask the person to come back at a time you both agree to.

Even when winter is just a memory, the lamps are available for you to use year-round whenever you need a pick-me-up. Enjoy!

 

Northern Light Technologies Manufacturer’s Warning

If you have a health problem, if you have been told you must wear sunglasses in the sunlight, or if you have a history of eye problems, please consult a health-care professional first.

Medications such as lithium, melatonin, tetracycline, St. John’s Wort, acne creams, creams with retinoic acid and some chemotherapy drugs that can make you very sensitive to light.