It’s that time of year when our clocks fall back an hour, and the morning light creeps in earlier. While you may or may not be partial to the daylight saving practice, we know our bodies and minds are affected. Just as mornings seem to start earlier, the skies can also get gloomier. Northern states of course experience this the most, with long rainy or snowy days and constant overcast. If you’re one of the 5% of the population who experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) it can be a struggle. However, there are some measures that can help lessen depression. But can light therapy help S.A.D.?
We’re here to discuss fall onset S.A.D. and how light therapy may make a huge difference.
What Exactly Is S.A.D.?
Just because it’s cloudy in an otherwise sunny state, you might think, oh, I have S.A.D. But having one or two off days can’t be categorized as a disorder. Sure, it may take time to adjust to an earlier sundown or a rainstorm, but winter blues are fleeting. S.A.D. can last an entire season.
The Mayo Clinic shared that fall and winter S.A.D. can include symptoms like oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and exhaustion or low energy. If you happen to have an existing mental challenge, such as bipolar disorder, it may feel more extreme. There’s no exact diagnosis.
Additionally, the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can vary, but studies have shown a few correlations. You could find your sleep pattern disrupted due to drops in melatonin levels. Less sunlight can also affect your serotonin levels, the hormone that impacts mood. You might also experience headaches or brain fog. Worse, you could feel withdrawn and hopeless, similar to standard depression.
The good news is it’s treatable.
Steps To Combat S.A.D.
People who are not prone to S.A.D. might think you can easily ‘snap out of it.’ However, for those who continually experience it season after season, it may require a visit to a doctor. Both cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants have been known to help.
However, there are other steps you can take to address this disorder before seeing a medical advisor.
- Sit near a window or take breaks to sit in the sunlight when available
- Make time to socialize to break up any alone time
- Get active, even if it’s just 15 minutes of daily home exercise
- Include healthy foods in your diet while reducing or eliminating alcohol and drugs
- Focus on positive aspects of the day; set small goals to improve your mood
As mentioned, a key part of the antidote to S.A.D. can be soaking up sunlight when available. But if your weather is a long series of gloomy days, what else can you do?
This is where light therapy can help!
Using Your Sauna To Treat S.A.D.
Sauna therapy is great for stress relief, general relaxation, and treating sore muscles, along with a host of other health benefits. The mid- and far-infrared heat do wonders after as little as 20-minutes. Many Health Mate saunas offer what we call full-spectrum infrared, which means you can enjoy chromotherapy as part of your sauna sessions. Chromotherapy is part of the near-infrared feature, which is the third level of infrared included in a full-spectrum sauna.
Chromotherapy, also known as light therapy, offers a range of color lighting delivered via an LED panel. It’s known for treating various ailments. From yellow to purple and all in between, it can address health issues like migraines, anxiety, skin conditions, and even, you guessed it, S.A.D.
Here is how the individual colors help:
- Green: Fights off depression associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
- Blue: Kills the bacteria that produce acne and may help relieve migraines
- Purple: Reduces anxiety and stress to promote serenity
- Red: Stimulates skin cells and collagen to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation
- Orange: Promotes cheerfulness and clarity
- Yellow: Boosts positivity and energy levels, giving a ‘brighter’ perspective
Getting a jump on your seasonal mental health can include various positive actions, but Health Mate Sauna is here to help year-round. Our infrared models are designed with your well-being in mind. For details on sauna benefits or what features to look for, see our sauna selection, or speak with our sauna specialists.