Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is incredibly common. The changing of the seasons, as well as the earlier nighttime, can often confuse the senses, leaving some with a depressive feeling. According to Boston University, around 10 million Americans experience lowered moods during colder weather, due in part to the sunsets that occur earlier than in the summertime, around 5:30 pm. Not only that but staying inside all day isn't great for mental wellness. That's where the SAD lamp comes in.
The SAD lamp helps the human circadian rhythm, also known as the natural human day-night cycle. Circadian rhythms appear in every living thing and are important to the mental state. SAD lamps mimic the feeling of sunlight later in the day and keep the natural circadian rhythm in check while the world and society continue. A SAD lamp typically has 5,000 to 10,000 lux. For comparison, humans receive about 800-900 lux in the early evening sky and 100-400 indoors.
While a SAD lamp may not be for everyone, it can be an easy way to help those who have trouble sleeping or staying focused. Alternative options for combating seasonal affectiveness disorder are vitamin D and exercise. SAD lamps can also cause headaches, so be careful when purchasing. After consulting with a doctor, a therapy lamp can cost around $50. Don't let the season keep you down for long!