Daylight savings time has been used since 1916 to compensate for the fall and winter shift in daylight hours. For years we’ve been changing our clocks backward to make the most out of the shortened days and reduced sunlight. Every fall we set change out clocks and experience these shorter days without much hesitation, but for some people there’s a bigger concern than 1 hour of lost sleep.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect many things; the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.”
Though this is only a seasonal disorder it can affect people year round. It is typically more prevalent in colder costal areas where there is often more cloud cover and is found more often in women than men. One treatment method for SAD is having the patient take antidepressant medication year round to help control the disorder. However, the most common and popular treatment method is Phototherapy, also known as light therapy. This requires a 10,000-lux lamp to be within eyesight for a minimum half hour per day to simulate sunlight. This treatment has been shown to help sleep patterns along with increasing the amount of physical energy felt on a day-to-day basis.
Although this treatment has been found affective, are there other alternative methods? The answer is yes! Though the lux lamps help from simulating sunlight, natural light will always be more beneficial. These phototherapy light boxes can cost anywhere between $75-$400 and are only used for a few winter months. So how can you receive more natural light for less money that you can use year round? Invest in a heliostat. These devices track and follow the suns movement throughout the day and redirect it do a desired location using mirrors. This will provide a typically dark room with natural light for hours on end. Using these year round not only helps Seasonal Affective Disorder but also helps cut the cost of daunting electric bills from naturally lighting your home.
Over all, there are many treatment options for SAD but some can be more beneficial and effective than others. When deciding what might be right for you or your loved ones keep in mind your year round health and the cost of treatment before choosing. If you have any questions about heliostats or how you can receive a discount on one as a treatment option just message Wikoda and we will be happy to help you get rid of the winter blues!