lorimt: (Default)
[personal profile] lorimt
I have a feeling I'm at least mildly affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, given how much darkness and rain affect my mood. It's far from clinical, but I figured I'd look into the research around dealing with it. In case other people find it useful, here's what I found.



Vitamin D appears to be at least tangentially related. A bunch of other studies show most people are low on Vitamin D, so it's worth paying attention to, regardless.

As far as lighting goes, the relevant factors appear to be 10,000 lumens (at whatever distance makes that happen). What I found didn't clarify well on light - maybe natural spectrum, maybe specifically blue. It appears to help if the light comes from at or above eye level, and you have to be awake/open-eyed, but don't have to look directly into the lamp. Time seems to vary from 15-20 min to 30-45.

It looks like most lamps advertised for SAD don't actually have enough lumens to be useful - they mostly focus on being full spectrum. The ones that do mostly look pretty expensive, around $200. I did see one which was only ~$100 now with useless "ion therapy".

I looked at several Ask Metafilter links, but they're mostly pretty anecdotal.

Date: 2010-10-27 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnibbles.livejournal.com
I try to find a sunny spot for lunch (or at least a spot that has some outside lighting) and sit in it for 30-60min over the course of lunch. If the weather is good and my knees aren't screaming bloody murder, I like to go for a short walk too. If your job permits midday jaunts, this is a good way to get your D's.

Date: 2010-10-27 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnibbles.livejournal.com
This is why couches under large windows are amazing and awesome. :D I discovered a number of lounge / collaborative work areas in my building with couches under southern exposure windows, which pleased me greatly. I hope you can find similar niceties. :)

Date: 2010-10-27 03:31 am (UTC)
mackenzie: (DS - Blah Blah Blah)
From: [personal profile] mackenzie
Moar anecdotal evidence!

I use and love full spectrum bulbs. I use them both during the winter and when I want to stay up really late. They're my version of caffeine.

Date: 2010-10-27 03:44 am (UTC)
mackenzie: (DS - Fap Fap Fap)
From: [personal profile] mackenzie
They *seem* superbright, but I think I just use 100 watt Verilux bulbs.

Date: 2010-10-27 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blaketh.livejournal.com
Since college, I've lit my (usually small) bedroom with 150-watt full spectrum bulbs. For this winter I've got four of them on a timer.

An interesting suggestion I've heard is that some people are affected not by the darkness but by the short days, so that avoiding bright daylight altogether works just as well as simulating it.

Date: 2010-10-27 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
Oh! Small world! Blake and Lori know each other. Who would have thought?

Date: 2010-10-28 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blaketh.livejournal.com
Precisely.

Date: 2010-10-27 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmouse.livejournal.com
Oh, I know I'm like this (which is why I would never move to Seattle to work for Msoft). Tell me if you find anything that works for you.

Date: 2010-10-27 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yaleartificer.livejournal.com
I'm affected by the weather, too. I think SAD is like general depression in that people generally "have it" to some degree -- it's a spectrum (har har) and not a boolean on/off thing.

Like everything else, it's probably also affected by the placebo effect, as well as the nocebo effect (like the placebo, only believing things are harmful makes them so). A nice walk outdoors during the day, even if it's cloudy, combined with a fair amount of conviction that it will help, can probably help.

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