How not to be SAD and feel like a movie star?
See 80% Improvement in Seasonal Affective Disorder with These Lights
For those of you following our blog, you already know that I have a special interest in depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Like millions of other people, I deal with both.
If you find yourself overly tired or even depressed every winter, you may have SAD, too. The further north you live, the more likely you are to have it. If you suspect you could have SAD, talk with your doctor about it.
How Light Helps Me Fight Off SAD
Light has helped me tremendously with SAD. I use a variety of light types every day, including the best-selling RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb and indirect exposure to the RubyLux All Green LED Bulb. On top of those, I use tanning lamps and beds in moderation for their UV light. And of course, I use a SAD lamp on my desk (Here is the most effective and durable SAD lamp I’ve found. Not only does it work better than others I’ve tried, but it’s survived multiple falls onto concrete- and kept the bulbs inside safe!)
I will give all the details on all the lights I use below. I know that most people with SAD don’t need as much light as I do. Everyone is different.
My Accidental Discovery
Recently, a new lighting setup crossed my path and it is now a mainstay in my collection. It made such a difference for me that I’d estimate my SAD is 80% gone. As soon as I realized it almost eliminated my SAD symptoms, I knew I had to tell people about these lights, even though RubyLux does not sell them.
I know first-hand how hard SAD is. On a good winter day, I’d be exhausted and ready for bed at 7:00PM. Staying focused was hard. On a bad day, nothing could make me happy. I know for some people, symptoms are so bad that they cry every day and some even think of hurting themselves. There’s no way I could discover something that helps me so much and not pass it along. There are too many people with SAD struggling to make it from day to day. What if this could help someone else?
I discovered these new lights on accident. Here at RubyLux we have plans in the works to make some YouTube videos answering some of the great questions everyone sends us. To that end, we purchased a video lighting kit so people could see everything in our videos clearly.
Well, the videos have been on hold because I won’t give the lights back. I set them up and now we need another set, because the first ones we got are MINE. I can’t believe the difference they’ve made. After a couple days using them, I had more energy, more focus and felt just as good as I feel in July. I still use my other lights and other anti-SAD strategies.
How I Use the Photo Lighting Setup for SAD
Here in this post I am linking to the exact lighting setup we bought. It included four extremely bright compact fluorescent bulbs, four light-weight stands, sockets and a whole bunch of other stuff like a backdrop for videos. I set up all four of those bulbs with their stands and reflective shades right in front of my computer. I plugged them all into a single power strip, which I use to turn them all on/off at once. Because these are compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s), they ARE made with mercury vapor. This is true of all CFL bulbs. To make sure the bulbs don’t accidentally get broken, I wedged the four stands between my desk and a wall.
Now for most people, doctors advise them to get a SAD lamp and use it a couple feet from their face once in the morning for 15-20 minutes. I strongly recommend following your doctor’s advice (unlike me).
*Click on photo below for detail on those items
What I do NOT recommend is doing whatever you feel like, like I do. I started using my SAD light for several hours every day. I just turn it off when it starts annoying me. There is a point where I just feel like I’ve had enough. I do the same with my RubyLux All Green LED Bulb and the video lighting setup lights. I use the RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb for 10-20 minutes on my head, several times a day. As for the Fiji Sun tanning lamp, I use that for only 5 minutes per area. I do not use it enough to tan. I am only interested in getting my vitamin D in the wintertime. As we all have heard, most doctors would say using a tanning lamp at all is a terrible idea.
I do think my need for light is much higher than other people’s. I would imagine that an average person might only benefit from one or two photo lights. And many would only need the typical 15-20 minutes of light in the morning.
Don’t forget- timing is everything if you want to beat SAD. SAD has been tied to circadian rhythm regulation problems. Bright light early in the morning is believed to help humans regulate their circadian rhythms by stopping the activity of melatonin. The best time for bright light exposure is between 6:30AM to 8:30AM. The same goes for tanning lamp use.
How I Use the RubyLux All Green LED Bulb for SAD
Green light has various positive effects, but the way one might use it for skin hyperpigmentation is not the same as how one would use it for regulating circadian rhythm.
To help with SAD, I use the RubyLux All Green LED Bulb in a desk lamp, which is pointed downwards onto the desk. It should not be directed towards the eyes- indirect exposure is the goal.
How I Use the RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb for SAD
The RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared is my personal favorite and it’s also our best-selling bulb. I’ve found that using it on my head and neck helps with focus and attention, relieves SAD symptoms, gets rid of brain fog and makes me feel calm and happy.
With this bulb, I only need a few sessions a day. If I start getting a mild headache or feel irritated 1-2 minutes after starting it, I know that either I’ve targeted the wrong part of my head or my body just doesn’t want it that day. Using the bulb should always feel relaxing and good. It shouldn’t ever cause discomfort.
What Else Can I Do for SAD Symptoms?
There are a few other things that really seem to help me with SAD symptoms.
1. Melatonin – Taking melatonin helps me regulate my circadian rhythm. After a bit of research, I concluded that one needs to find the proper dosage for oneself, usually between 1-5mg. I experimented with varying doses that didn’t work or made me even more tired before I found the Goldilocks dose for me: 3mg. I’m always careful to take it at the right time (remember, timing is everything with circadian rhythm), around 9:00PM at night.
2. Eliminate Blue Light at Night – I turn the brightness on my phone way down and by 8:00PM, I’ve changed my display settings so blue light is eliminated. I have also seen positive results from using light-blocking eyeglasses three hours before sleep. Some of the most expensive I found were Uvex glasses.
3. The Right Kind of Contact Lenses – When I had UV-blocking contact lenses, my symptoms were worse. After I switched, symptoms improved.
4. Sauna– At the risk of sounding like I think sauna cures everything…sauna cures everything. Seriously, one of the things that makes me feel great in the summertime is the warm weather. In the winter, I use the sauna and it seems to have a positive impact on my SAD symptoms. You can make your own home sauna for $200 that is what I currently use at home.
So there you have it! Although I have no idea if I am the first to notice how these things help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, who cares? What’s more important is telling other people who might not have heard of it yet. Perhaps someone will find it useful. If that someone is you, once you get to feeling good again, do me a favor. Remember to pay it forward :)
Note from the Editor:
To view all items used by our CEO click on photo below: