Decorating Reduces Seasonal Affective Disorder
First off you ask what is seasonal affective disorder, SAD. SAD is a form of depression that people experience at particular times of the year. Most of us are affected by the change in seasons, it is normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining and the days are longer, or to find that you eat more or sleep longer in winter. However, if you experience SAD, the change in seasons will have a much greater effect on your mood and energy levels and lead to symptoms of depression that have a significant impact on your day to day life. Let’s take a look at what happens.
SAD is primarily caused by a lack of sunlight affecting the balance and production of certain hormones and chemicals in the brain. To understand how something as simple as this could have such an affect on our mental wellbeing it is important to consider how much sunlight we actually receive from different sources.
Light is measured in units of lux, which is defined as, the amount of visible light per square meter incident on a surface. Roughly speaking one lux is equal to the illuminance provided by an ordinary wax candle. To put this into context the lux provided to our eyes by a normal sunny day is approximately 100,000 lux, whereas a normal lightbulb or desk lamp provides just 300-500 lux.
While it is always recommended to talk to your doctor, there are some things you can do to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder at home. Take a look at the following ideas to help you through these long dark cold days ahead.
Light therapy. Light therapy involves an individual sitting at a recommended distance from a fluorescent light box which produces a light intensity of between 2500 and 10000 lux.
Increasing Exposure to Natural Sunlight. Even just one hour outside during the day can have a huge impact upon SAD.
Physical Activity. Try to do at least 30-60 minutes of exercise at least 3 times per week.
Diet. Of particular importance are omega oils, so if you do not eat fish, flax seeds or other sources of omega 3, consider supplementation.
And finally, Decorating Reduces Seasonal Affective Disorder. Redecorating your home can make a big difference in the quality of light there and may help contribute to improving the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. The level of light in a room is not just determined by light through windows and skylights but also by how much is reflected by the surface of the walls and ceilings. The percentage of light which reaches a surface and is reflected back from it is called the reflectance. This percentage is higher with a white and cream walls, 60 to 70% and is much lower with darker colours which absorb available light. Pale shades will be about as effective as white and can give a room a warmer feeling. Choose lighter accessories and furniture too along with adding cool colours. Mirrors are a great addition along with lamps to brighten things up. So come on into one of our two Better Furniture showrooms and see how we can help brighten any room up.