Frequently Asked Questions About Seasonal Depression And Light Therapy

It’s hard to have productive homeschool days. For starters, getting into the right headspace for studying is challenging simply because our homes are a place of rest. Because of this, parents have to cultivate an engaging space for their children to learn. This challenge becomes increasingly more difficult during the winter. At this time of the year, you want to snuggle into a warm blanket and drink hot cocoa.

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Feeling lazy during the winter is normal. Most of us feel sluggish and unmotivated during this time of year. It mostly has to do with shorter days, and a lack of sunlight decreases our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that helps in stabilizing our moods. Beyond this, it helps with bodily functions such as sleeping, eating, and digestion. Having lower levels of serotonin increases your risk of having the big SAD. 

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a type of depression that occurs during a particular season. You may commonly observe this in the fall or winter. However, people may also have SAD during spring or summer. 

Aside from feeling tired and unmotivated, SAD symptoms include sleeping problems, losing interest in activities, and feeling hopeless. Difficulty concentrating can also be another SAD symptom. This then results in reduced productivity when homeschooling. 

There are several openly available treatment options for SAD. Medication and therapy are the most common solutions for mental health problems like this. But, if you prefer alternatives that you can try at home, light therapy may be an option for you.

Light therapy, or phototherapy, is simply a treatment wherein you use a lamp or light therapy box to improve your mood. Now, you may already be curious about the specifics of light therapy. Don’t worry, the following section may be helpful to you. Here, we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions to shed some light on the topic of SAD and phototherapy.

Does light therapy work for seasonal depression?

Yes, light therapy does work for seasonal depression, but it does not cure it. It only provides relief for the symptoms brought upon by SAD, increases an individual’s energy levels, and generally feels better.

What type of light helps with seasonal depression?

A particular type of light is used to treat seasonal depression. Your doctor may recommend or prescribe you to get a lightbox with more than 10,000 lux of light and with little UV light as possible. It should be brighter than both indoor and outdoor lights in your household.

What vitamin should you take for seasonal depression?

Research suggests that Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential supplement for an individual suffering from seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is most likely caused by the lack of sunlight or shorter sun exposure days during the fall and winter seasons. Vitamin D is easily found in several animal-based foods, such as fish and eggs.

How long does it take for light therapy to work for depression?

The daily use of lightbox therapy is recommended. According to studies, patients undergoing light therapy see a positive response and improvement between three to five days. The effectiveness of the treatment process is highly dependent on the response rate of a patient. For some, it may only take days, while for others, it can be months long.

Do SAD lamps give you vitamin D?

SAD lamps and other light therapy boxes do stimulate vitamin D production in the skin. However, most health professionals are against this as it may cause skin cancer and other grave conditions.

Can a lightbox damage your eyes?

To put it simply, yes, there is a potential risk of damaging your eyes when using a lightbox, although there is still no evidence of it so far. Both eyes should remain open during light therapy, but one should not directly look at the source of light. Thus, the supervision of a licensed medical professional is advised.

Is blue light or white light better for SAD?

Both blue light and white light are found to be useful for treating symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. The choice now depends on the patient’s preference.

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What color light is best for depression?

White light has been the most common color of light used to treat seasonal depression, but recent studies have shown that blue light’s effectiveness is similar. However, generally speaking, white LEDs with blue light are twice as effective as only white light or blue light.

How do I choose a SAD light?

It is best if you ask for a professional’s help and advice when choosing a SAD light, as you might mistake other types of light available in the market which are used to treat skin conditions rather than mood disorders. It is essential to buy one with at least 10,000 lux of light, as any lower than that will not be sufficient. Choose a lightbox with less UV light, too, to minimize possible risks and harms. Invest in a high-quality product to ensure safety. Also, take into account to find the right size you need.

What are the signs of a lack of vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency is often accompanied by the following signs and symptoms: fatigue, joint pain, muscle ache, mood changes, and hair loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you are most likely suffering from a lack of Vitamin D. You may take supplements or eat more Vitamin D-rich food such as fish, eggs, and milk.

Does vitamin D help with the seasonal affective disorder?

Yes, Vitamin D helps with seasonal depression. According to research, seasonal affective disorder is often linked to Vitamin D deficiency in an individual. The more you lack Vitamin D, the higher your chances are of suffering from SAD.

Do vitamin D tablets help with SAD?

It remains unclear whether Vitamin D tablets and supplements are enough to help with SAD. However, they do help in increasing levels of Vitamin D in an individual. It is essential that you take Vitamin D tablets and eat Vitamin D-rich foods and make sure you are getting enough sunlight.

In conclusion, light therapy boxes can help bring your circadian rhythm back in sync, recharge your energy, and produce some much-needed Vitamin D. You can also feel more warmth, thanks to your light therapy box’s rays. Just make sure to use your SAD lamps the proper way so you can avoid damaging your skin or eyes. This means that light therapy boxes should only be used with adult supervision.

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SAD has a tendency to seep out the energy and productivity you and your children need for homeschooling. With a light therapy box, you and your kids can start the day in a positive light. Remember, one of the critical things to a successful homeschooling experience is a warm and conducive environment. You can keep up such an environment with a nurturing attitude and a bright atmosphere.

So, if you notice unusual sadness among you or your homeschoolers during the cold seasons, book an appointment with a therapist. Please don’t be shy of this condition, because it can affect anyone. Roughly 5% of the American population experience this mental health disorder. Getting the right diagnosis is the first step to having better mental health. This, in turn, can allow you to work better.

Of course, you can also try self-help remedies to support your child as they deal with a lack of motivation and productivity. But seeking professional help can show significant results in a short amount of time. And as the FAQs section has mentioned, you’d need professional help to choose the right light therapy box for your needs.

We hope that this article provided you with some clarity on SAD and light therapy. Together, let’s learn how to make our homes conducive to education, growth, and mental health.