Depression is one of the most widespread diseases all over the world. A common type of depression that people around the world face is the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a psychological condition that results in a depression on account of seasonal change.
Researchers suggest that about 4 to 6% of Americans suffer from this. Most people experience this in the winter. It is most pronounced in young adults and women. A common cause of this is lack of sunlight.
This kind of depression, however, is curable. The lack of sunlight can be quickly taken care of by using a sunlight lamp for depression that acts as a unique light source mimicking natural light.
This therapy has been proven to be quite useful to help uplift the mood of people, as well as ensure a better sleep cycle.
In this article, we tell you how sunlight lamp for depression is a unique and noteworthy technique to alleviate the disease and well as how you can use it.
Why Sunlight Lamp for Depression?
The light emitting from a sunlight lamp has a positive effect on melatonin and serotonin in the body. These chemicals are related to your sleep cycle. Besides, serotonin also helps lower the levels of anxiety in your body and helps strengthen the mental well being.
It is important to note that even though SAD(1) does not have immediate effects, the adverse changes it makes to the body are catastrophic in the long run.
Right from feeling depressed to feeling low to even having suicidal thoughts and suffering from physical ailments like obesity, SAD affects people who live far from the equator the most.
In a study conducted in 2009, it was found that sunlight therapy works best for depression. It was noticed that positive effects began to show in the first 20 minutes of the session itself. The treatment works with minimum side effects and is often considered as a much better alternative to antidepressants.
In another research conducted by Faculty of Health Disciplines, Canada, it was found out that sunlight therapy alleviates depression by improving the circadian rhythms, thus giving the body adequate sleep which is the foremost consideration to reduce signs of depression.
Further bolstering the argument was another remarkable study wherein the effectiveness of light therapy for depression was under consideration.
In this study, the participants were divided into three different groups:
- The first group received sunlight therapy along with a placebo pill.
- The second group received an antidepressant and as a placebo pill.
- The third and final group received sunlight lamp therapy along with an antidepressant.
It was found that light therapy, when used in isolation or when combined with an antidepressant was better able to reduce the symptoms of depression than the rest of the combinations.
[ Also Read: Other Alternative Treatments for Depressions]
How to Use Sunlight Lamp to Cure Depression?
To receive the maximum benefit from a sunlight lamp to reduce signs of depression, it is necessary that the light enters your eyes indirectly. Gazing at the lamp directly can damage the eyes. A sunlight lamp that has an intensity of around 10,000 lux. This intensity is about 9,900 lux more than the average household light.
Here is how to use a sun lamp for SAD and depression:
- Keep the sun lamp on a desk or a table around 16-24 inches away from your body.
- Position it around 30 degrees over your head.
- Avoid direct gazing.
- Try sitting in front of the lamp for about 20-30 minutes at a stretch. You can vary the time, depending on how the physician has advised you.
- To gain the best results, use the lamp at the same time each day.
Health Risks Associated with Sunlight Lamp
There are no significant health risks associated with the usage of a sunlight lamp to cure depression(2). The essential purpose behind using this kind of therapy to reduce the signs of depression is to ensure that the body does not suffer any ancillary harm in the voyage of curing depression.
Possible side effects include strain on the eyes, nausea, or headache. However, these side effects are usually mild and may go away on their own after you become acclimatized to the therapy.
[Read: Meditation for Depression]
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How Do I Know If I Need Sunlight Therapy?
In case you are unable to get ample sunlight and are having signs of depression such as loss of energy, or feeling low, or even symptoms of social withdrawal, it is time that you used the sunlight therapy since these could be potential signs of depression.
2. How Long Does It Take to See Positive Effects?
Surprisingly, sunlight lamp usage can begin to show positive results within a few weeks of the therapy. Sunlight lamp can alleviate signs of depression without your body incurring any side effects and at a rapid rate.
3. Can I Use Sunlight Therapy for Depression If I Am on Antidepressants?
Well, researchers and doctors are of the view that sunlight lamp therapy works best when used in combination with antidepressants. Using the two of them, in conjunction, can help fasten the results. It must be mentioned here that the same is dependent on individual requirements. You should consult your doctor before you begin your treatment.
The sunlight lamp therapy to cure depression is soon picking up pace in the field of medicine. Several reputed experts suggest that it could be one of the finest and the most proficient ways to cure SAD that is becoming quite popular. Not only is this therapy sans any possible health side effects, but it also assures results in no time, thus making it the most preferred choice of those suffering from SAD.