T Nation

Light Boxes


#1

Do any of you have any advice/experience with full spectrum lighting, such as is used to treat seasonal affective disorder? I've noticed that I tend to become more depressed during the winter, and I'd like to add some full spectrum light, but light boxes are fairly expensive. Any tips?


#2

Don't have experience with them, but I know you can get full-spectrum light bulbs too. They're also expensive ($12-$15 apiece, I think), but can be more economical than the boxes. Whether they emit enough light to make a difference with SAD, I don't know. I was thinking of getting a few for the house, and probably a couple smaller flourescent ones for the under-shelf lights at my work. I experience the same thing as you and would like to be proactive this year and pick something like this up.


#3

My mother actually got roped into buying one last winter for something like $300. She's the "Prevention" magazine type, so it didn't surprise me at all that she would go out and buy such a gimmic (all the while ignoring the fact that it was likely her diet and workaholic lifestyles that were causing her energy problems). I can't say that I noticed any change in her demeanor, but I'll talk to her and see if it made a difference. Personally, though, I can think of a million things on which I would rather spend my money.


#4

I don't have anything to offer on the lightbulb/box issue but there's something else you may consider. Tanning beds. While I've not been diagnosed with SAD, having grown up in Seattle and then moved to Colorado, there is a trememdous, but vague and generalized, change in my mood and disposition that I can only attribute to actually seeing the full sun for more than 3 weeks out of the year.

I did a little experiment a few years ago to test this. I had noticed that in the summer I feel much more energized, pleasantly optomistic and slept better than I did during the winter (heat of summer notwithstanding). Since I have unlimited tanning at my gym, I started going twice a week - primarily to maintain some color but also to see if it made any difference in my mood. It did. Undeniably. I have maintained this habit for several years and it hasn't failed me yet. Yeah, some will argue the dangers of tanning and cancer and all that crap but I take preventative measures and am not terribly concerned over it. I've also noticed that my skin really seems to "like" being moderately tan. I used to have bouts of dry, flaky skin alternating with mild acne which doesn't happen anymore. Perhaps because I am much more conscientious about using moisturizers and alpha/beta hydroxys.


You could always try it for 4 months and see if it makes any difference. And you'd get the side benefit of a more glowing complexion to boot!


#5

My girlfriend has SAD; I want to tell you that the lights don't work but they do. Hell, they lift my mood after about 1/2 hour exposure. Not anything drastic, but definately an improvement--I just feel better about being alive. I'd recommend that you were sunglasses, though, because they'll dry your eyes out.


#6

i grew up in san diego, goin to school up in washington for a change... personally i like the cold and haze when i am bulking as it feels 'right.' i dont like bein in the sun and cheer as much when im fat. just the way my mind works.


#7

I know sparkin one always took care of my winter blues:))


#8

I think i remember reading on this site something about, test levels increasing when you are exposed to UV rays, it was either in a thread or an actual article, damn cant remember, maybe someone else does though.....


#9

I think I'm just going to try to find a full-spectrum bulb and use that. I'll also see how I feel after my tanning session (thanks karma); I need to tan up for Puerto Rico anyway!