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  20 months ago

How light affects our body

Most of us know what depression is, but how much do you know about seasonal depression?

On the 22nd of December, the winter solstice took place, which means it was the shortest day of the year. A short day means less sunlight. A lack of sunlight can lead to a so-called seasonal depression. Loss of motivation, tiredness and reduced alertness are the consequences of this depression.

The "Medical Sleep Centre" in Strasbourg is researching how the lack of light affects our bodies. On one hand, light regulates our day and night rhythm. On the other, light has a direct effect on our body, because light transmits a lot of information to our neural networks. Thus, light has a positive effect on our alertness, our performance and betters our mood.

As days are shorter in autumn and winter, we do not see as much sunlight as we need. Therefore, one researcher proposes “light-therapies” to fight seasonal depressions. This form of therapy has the same effects as therapy with medication, combining those two forms of therapy, can lead to even better results for the patient.

Additionally, researchers from the centre in Strasbourg mention that our body needs different amounts and intensities of light during the day.

For example, in the morning and during lunch, we need more intense light, and, at night, we need less light. As our human bodies are, as most animal species, programmed in line with the Earth's cycle of night and day. Making for another reason why we are advised to not use, smartphones, tablets or laptops shortly before going to bed, as our bodies don’t need light at night, especially LED light, from those devices as this makes us more alert.

Do you think you have ever suffered from seasonal depression?

How would you deal with it?

Are you excited about the days getting longer again?

Do you use your phone, tablet or laptop before you go to bed?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Influence your world,

Toluna Team


  20 months ago
I have never suffered from seasonal depression, I use a tablet before i go to bed


  20 months ago
I have severe depression, but do feel worse when it's darker and the weather more miserable for several days. I use a SAD light which is useful, and take vitamin D supplements. I do use devices before bed, however, I also use a blue light filter on them.


  20 months ago
I have a sad lamp as I do feel depressed in the winter as it’s not so light outside. I found that even having the lamp on for 15 minutes when I wake up helps me feel more motivated and happier for the rest of the day.


  20 months ago
Last couple of winters I've noticed I'm alot more tired and lethargic no matter how much sleep I get. I also notice it alot in my colleagues at work. We have hardly any get up and go even on a easy day. I'm really looking forward to the light nights and sunny mornings.


  20 months ago
I am really looking forward to longer days and evening when you can get out and potter. I have a vague recollection of when we tried double summer time , the days seemed endless so much time and it was warm into early evening , but the winter was dark and cold, it does affect how you feel and how productive you are.


  20 months ago
I'm one of the few that loves the winter & the dark. Obviously I'm not affected by SAD & I also use my computer until I go to bed although I do clean up first.


  20 months ago
Vitamin D is necessary for the imune system and comes from direct sunlght on the skin.


  20 months ago
I can't wait for the days to be longer team . I've suffered from S.A.D. for years , and yes , it's real ! The weather hasn't been conducive for going outside recently !


  20 months ago
I generally get outside early in the morning to get more natural light. If this is impossible because of the dark winter months, antidepressant medications or light therapy (phototherapy) may help me..


  20 months ago
I admit to feeling better during the Spring/Summer months but don't get too depressed during Autumn/Winter. I prefer the longer days as I can spend more time out in the garden and sit out in the evenings. My laptop is switched off at 4.30 and my mobile is hardly ever used.
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