If the thought of winter, with its short daylight hours and dull weather, makes you feel unmotivated and lethargic, you could be one of many people suffering from SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. Research into the condition has proven that lighting is a massive contributor to an individual’s mood and the dark days of winter can cause people to feel more depressed than they are in the summer.
When you think about how lighting is used, it is possible to list a range of different circumstances in which it creates mood. In the home, low-key lighting and a flickering fire creates an intimate, cozy and romantic tone. Alternatively a fairground ride, with its fast and flickering strobe effects, depicts elements of danger and excitement.
The fact that lighting can affect our moods so much has long been utilized in the film and photography business. For example, muted sepia tones speak of reminiscence and melancholia and dark, shadowy scenes are synonymous with horror to shock and astound.
Light and Science
In the real world, rather than the world of film, some experts suggest that lighting can actually change the chemistry that takes place within the brain, accounting for the varying moods we feel at different times of the year. Whether someone is affected by SAD or not depends upon the individual and the way he or she reacts to the amount of light. However, there are treatments and therapies that involve making extra light available during your daily routine which help to improve the mood if you suffer severely.
MHA lighting has designed its LED lighting technology specifically for hospitals, with dimmers that help to provide a more pleasant environment than fluorescent lighting to help with a patient’s recovery.
The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder can manifest itself in patients in several different ways. Some people may simply feel lower in mood during dull days; others may find it difficult to function effectively and become unmotivated and lethargic. The most severely affected can become seriously depressed, with symptoms that plague them during darker summer days as well as during the winter months.
Light is said to improve the mood by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. This is a hormone associated with good humor and happiness. Simultaneously, there is evidence that suggests light suppresses melatonin production this hormone is known to regulate the response of animals to the seasons, such as those that go into hibernation.
How to Improve Your Mood
If you find yourself feeling melancholy during the dark days of winter, try getting outdoors on the sunniest of these days. Natural light increases serotonin levels in the brain. You could also invest in a light box, allowing you access to bright light. This is known as light therapy. You may also choose to brighten up your home with splashes of color that boost your mood. Taking a vitamin D supplement can also help your body by providing the nutrients your body requires from the sun when natural light is not always available.