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Quick Boost

Sep
4
2012
Sunlight
By Vince Caimano
Category  Benefits of Sunlight

I was really quite surprised about the results of our most recent Quick Boost Poll results. More than half of our respondents said that they didn't consciously use sunlight to help with their depression. We didn't ask why that was the case but from a few comments and my experience it probably comes down to two simple issues: 1. It is hard to get out in the sunlight when we are depressed and 2. Many people don't understand how helpful it can be.

I certainly understand how it can be hard to get outside when you are depressed. Just getting out of bed can be quite a challenge. It can also be the case that we don't live in a place where we can get sunlight year round. So why might it be important to put in the effort to get a daily dose of sunlight?

Sunlight does a few things for us that can be very helpful for recovering from depression. First, it helps to regulate our wake / sleep or circadian rhythm. If we don't get some sunlight early in the day we might find our sleeping schedule shifting later and later. Not a good thing since our sleep might already be disturbed. Poor sleep and the lack of the serotonin that sunlight produces might also raise our stress level and make our depression worse.

So what can we do? It's relatively easy to get the sunlight you need. If you live in a place where there is some sun, try to get out in it early in the day for 30 minutes. A short walk or sitting in the sun can do the trick. This will even work on a hazy day or partly cloudy day. Sitting near a window is not as good - the light indoors is about 100 times less bright that outdoors.

If you don't have a way to get some natural sunlight, a light therapy light can be a good substitute. Check this page on our site for some light therapy boxes that I own and use. If you have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder talk to your doctor about light therapy since it can trigger mixed states. And if you have any serious eye problems it is also a good idea to check with your doctor before starting therapy.


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Categories
Anxiety (7)
Benefits of Sunlight (4)
Diet and Supplements (2)
Effective Sleep Habits (4)
Healthy Thinking (14)
Holiday Events (8)
Life Planning (5)
Life Transitions (1)
Light Therapy (2)
Professional Help (4)
Promise of Exercise (4)
PTSD (1)
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Understanding and Living with Depression (25)
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