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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,701

    Light box therapy

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    There are a few old threads about this -- using light box therapy in the winter months to deal with SAD. Does anyone here now use a light therapy box? If so which light do you have, and how and when do you use it?

    I tend to get pretty miserable during the winter months so I was planning to buy a light box this year. But after reading more about them, I'm not sure if it will be useful. I was thinking I could use it in the evenings after sunset while I'm still at work, and was hoping to get one that's portable enough to bring home on weekends or when an approaching winter storm indicates that I will have to work from home for several days. I am a night person, not at all a morning person. I don't care what time the sun comes up, I only ever see the sunrise if I'm up early for a weekend bike ride. I do care about sunset, I hate when it sets early. That's why I figured that using a light therapy box in the evening made sense.

    But it looks like that won't work -- apparently you're supposed to use it early in the morning, shortly after waking up. It's supposed to be directed toward your face and your eyes need to be open. For 30 minutes. But I don't sit still that long most mornings. I take a shower, make breakfast in the kitchen, eat in the living room (my condo is small so no eat-in kitchen and the dining area is where the bikes live), dry my hair in the bathroom, get dressed in the bedroom, then run out the door for work. If I have to use this light in the morning, I would have to get up earlier for it. But I'd get to work at the same time so I would get home at the same time and get to bed at the same time, which means overall less sleep every night.

    Another thing is that the light apparently works best when it's shining down on you from above. The only way I see that happening is to get a really big light, and even then I'd have to sit on the floor in order for it to be above me. Unless I get one that's a floor lamp, though I really don't have room for a giant floor lamp in my small condo.

    I did read that for some people it works better to use the light in the evening, but haven't found anything that says how to tell if you're one of those people.

    These things are very expensive, unless you buy a small one. But from what I've been reading, a small one is not a good choice, you really should have a big one.

    I'm just not sure how to make this work. Any information would be much appreciated!!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    1,043
    I use a small light box (don't remember the brand, but it's available at Costco in the pharmacy section for arounf $120, I think). I use it as a light on my work table, just off to the side a little. During the darkest days of winter, I might keep it on all day. I think it helps, and if that's just the power of suggestion, then it's a good suggestion. There definitely comes a time when I feel I NEED it, and a time when I feel like I don't need it anymore. We're having an actual fall this year, so I haven't felt the need for it yet.

    Rodriguez Adventure
    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross
    2012 Trek Mamba

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Columbus, IN
    Posts
    221
    I have a friend who definitely prefers to be outside whenever possible and hates winter too. His wife bought him a small light box for his office a few years ago. It seems to be set up like Lauraelmore's -- off to the side next to the computer. He said he liked it at first, but wasn't sure it was working. I haven't seen him turn it on for more than a year now, for what that's worth. It definitely isn't big, or shining from above, and he doesn't look right at it, I can't imagine he'd have the time. I'll ask him what he thinks now and report back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,701
    From what I can tell, the ideal position is not to look directly at it, but have it shining down on your face. Like in the photo of the woman in front of the light here:

    http://www.carex.com/item/CCFDL93011.../#.V-GJVzWD0sU

    Having it off to the side a little does seem okay, since you're still generally facing toward it.

    Interestingly, some of the photos on various manufacturers' websites do not show this sort of exposure, they show people sitting next to a (small) light that is shining on their torsos or on whatever they're sitting next to.

    But what you are both saying is making me think. It seems that you need the big light on your face, within 1-2 feet away depending on the light, if you just want to get the full effect in 30 minutes. Sitting farther away (or using a light that is less than 10,000 lux) can still work if you use it for a longer time. So having it on at work for hours would be another approach that gets the same effect, and it doesn't really matter that you have the light on longer if you're going to be sitting there anyway. (It would matter for people whose jobs don't involve staying indoors in one place, like nursing, construction, police/firefighters, or even teaching.)

    And I guess it still helps if you use it during daylight hours? In my current office I sit next to a window that faces southwest, so I do get some sun from there, weather permitting. It's just that the sun sets so early. And now that I think of it, I get the most sun in the afternoon, not in the morning.

    This is very helpful, I'm getting ideas on how I can make this work. Thanks!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,701
    Well I am taking the leap, marking the end of summer by purchasing this light box:

    http://www.alaskanorthernlights.com/specs-LED.php

    It's not the least expensive option, but it's portable (about the size of a laptop), has three different brightness settings and the brightest is 10,000 lux at 30", while most have to be 12-15" away for that level of brightness. It uses LED lights, which I think is one reason for the higher price. Over the years I've had migraine-related problems with glare from overhead fluorescent lights; as I've gotten older and the migraines have subsided this has been less of a problem, but still I think LED lights will be less likely to annoy me. I have two LED lights at home that are not a problem.

    Due to the migraine photophobia I have long been in the habit of not using bright lights indoors and wearing dark sunglasses all the time, even sometimes in the rain. So there is a chance that I won't be able to use any light box, but I am hoping I can make this work. If not, there is a 60-day guarantee.

    I'm planning to start using the light box on the least-bright setting next month and gradually increase the brightness and duration as winter settles in. I am also going to take other measures to get more natural light, like spending more time near windows during the day and either not wearing sunglasses or switching my very dark Oakley lenses to something lighter.

    If anyone is interested, here are other TE threads on the topic and some other information I found on the internet that seemed legit and was helpful.

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=45127

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=40864

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=26610

    http://www.columbia.edu/~mt12/blt.htm

    https://www.drew.edu/Counseling/sad-and-light-therapy

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-c...-20048298?pg=2

    http://psycheducation.org/treatment/...or-depression/

    http://www.brightenyourlife.info/ch3.html

    http://www.uwhealth.org/news/light-t...rder-sad/14108

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...ess-in-america

    http://www.cet.org/

    http://www.alaskanorthernlights.com/light_therapy.php

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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