Every winter in Seattle we face a long, dark road back to spring. Average daylight in Seattle is 8 hours and 29 minutes per day, the Solstice bottoms out at 8 hours and 25 minutes. On top of that, only 3 days of the month will have clear skies (which really means a maximum of 30% cloud cover) while 17 days will have precipitation of some form. Speaking of averages, we average 6.1 inches of rain and 2.5 inches of snow this month. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I never fully wake up in December. Apocalypse aside, it’s a tough month to stay energized and alert.
This year I sprung for a Verilux HappyLight 6000, which sounds like a hippy robot of some sort, but it actually a very simple lamp I have in my office, and I love it! It provides 6,000 lumens of light that is closer to natural sunlight than normal indoor lights, more towards the blue end of the spectrum. There are multiple studies on the effectiveness of this type of light on SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The best of those studies were studied, they call that a metanalysis. The metanalysis showed light therapy to be effective in relieving symptoms of SAD, and that it is also beneficial for non-seasonal depression. Like every other therapy, though, if you have a condition, talk over your options with your health professional. There are different times of day and intensities to help achieve results, and more is not always better.
You don’t have to have any clinical anything to benefit from a HappyLight. I turn it on as soon as I arrive, and generally leave it on for at least an hour. How easy is that? I don’t have a window in my direct view, so I really get very little natural light while at work. I noticed a change in my mood and energy level within a week! That makes the long, dark road to the vernal equinox a little shorter.
Happy Solstice, wherever you may be.