What is Winter Depression and How Can It Be Treated?

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winter depression

What is Winter Depression?

Believe it or not, the amount of sunlight your receive on a daily basis can have an impact on your overall health and wellness. As winter rolls around, shorter days and colder months throw some people for a loop by disrupting their circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that regulates the sleep and wake cycle.

Researchers found that light, reaching the brain through the eyes by way of visual pathways, can affect areas of the brain known to regulate depression, mood, and appetite. When we are exposed to natural light, it helps fight symptoms of depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the body’s natural mood stabilizer, and it helps regulate anxiety, happiness, and depression in the brain. In turn, serotonin impacts our circadian rhythm by stimulating parts of the brain responsible for activating sleep or wake signals.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between the amount of sunlight we receive and our overall mental health. Also, when we lack natural sunlight exposure to the skin, our bodies lack Vitamin D, which means our serotonin levels are even lower. As a result, some people suffer from mood disorders that follow seasonal patterns when the weather changes.

If you find yourself dragging your feet during the same time every year, you may be suffering from what is known as winter depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

People who suffer with SAD often experience negative physical symptoms, such as:

  • Oversleeping
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate

Fortunately, SAD symptoms can be treated.

How Can Winter Depression Be Treated?

Winter depression can be treated a variety of ways, and you should always consult with your doctor before starting any course of treatment.

Common courses of treatment include anti-depressant medications, traditional talk therapy, and even changes to diet and exercise.

However, scientists agree that one of the most effective ways to treat winter depression is through light therapy. Light therapy is a non-invasive solution that supplements natural light with routine artificial bright light exposure to help boost the serotonin levels in the brain. Unlike other treatments, light therapy is a safer way to reduce the negative symptoms of winter depression by simulating daylight. It even can be paired with other treatment methods to provide further relief from winter depression symptoms.

>> Read More on Bright Light Treatment Research

Light therapy boxes are specially designed with brighter light bulbs than the ones found in and around your home. Their light is measured by its intensity, also known as Lux. Typically, bright light lamps are 10,000 Lux white, fluorescent light and do not contain harmful ultraviolet wavelengths. Light therapy is prescribed to patients for 15 to 30 minutes per day in the morning, which helps reset the circadian rhythm first thing to help patients feel more energized throughout the day and reduces the symptoms of depression.

>> Learn How to Use a Bright Light Therapy Product

Order a Light Therapy Box from The SunBox Company

Our SAD light therapy boxes have been prescribed and recommended by over 2,500 health professionals since 1985. Over the years, SunBox’s light therapy boxes have helped thousands of people worldwide heal from winter depression and lead healthier lives. Take a look at our 10,000 lux bright light lamps to find the one that best fits your needs!

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