Treating Seasonal Depression With Light Therapy and Exercise
During the fall and winter months, many people begin to feel depressed and have difficulty sleeping. This is called seasonal depression. It is caused by a brain response to a lack of sunlight.
If you or someone you know has seasonal depression, there are a number of ways to treat it. Typically, it is treated with medication or psychotherapy. Other common methods include light therapy and exercise.
The sun is believed to have a significant impact on serotonin and melatonin, two brain chemicals that are linked to mood and energy. During the winter months, lack of sunlight can cause your brain to produce less serotonin, which can lead to feelings of depression. The good news is that light therapy can help you fight lethargy and feel better.
During the fall and winter months, it is advisable to increase your natural light in your home. You should also spend more time outdoors, particularly in the winter. If you live in an area that does not get much sunlight in winter, consider painting your walls a lighter color or purchasing a light therapy lamp.
Light therapy is a highly effective treatment for seasonal depression. The light therapy simulates the natural light your body receives. The light stimulates your retina and activates your hypothalamus, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
Research has shown that light therapy can help treat up to 60 percent of patients. This is because light therapy tricks the brain into thinking that it is receiving more sunlight.