Light therapy lamps, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Lamps, mimic outdoor natural light. Late fall and winter months in Canada tend to lack sunshine, which can affect individuals in different ways, including lowering mood, decreasing energy and over-sleeping.
Exposure to light that mimics sunlight is believed to alter brain chemicals that moderate mood, helping to relieve feelings of fatigue, anxiety, low mood, and loss of motivation that can commonly occur during the winter months. In as little as 20-30 minutes a day, symptoms can be relieved by using light therapy.
The Students’ Association of RDC has provided two light therapy lamps for use by RDC students. The lamps are available for 2-hour loan from RDC Library, for use anywhere on campus.
Light therapy is safe, but please keep the following in mind before and during use:
- Refrain from using lamp if you are taking medications that causes photosensitivity, including certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and St. John’s Wort
- Before using lamp, consult with a physician if you suffer from, or have a history of, any of the following conditions: photosensitivity due to lupus, porphyria, actinic dermatitis or solar urtincaria; macular degeneration; skin cancer; bipolar disorder; or light sensitivity.
- Do not overuse lamp. Overuse may cause irritability, excessive energy, or difficulty falling asleep at bedtime.
When using the lamp:
- Position it in your line of sight; however, it should not shine directly into your eyes or anyone else’s.
- Limit use to 20-30 minutes at a time.
- Consider sessions earlier in the day for best effect.
Light therapy is not a cure for depression and other mood disorders. If you are experiencing a prolonged period of extreme sadness, low motivation or feelings of hopelessness, we encourage you to contact your physician or RDC’s Counselling & Career Centre in Room 1402, phone 403.343.4064.