Brighten Up Your Home to Combat SAD by newsusa


Winter months may literally bring the blues with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but interior lighting can be maximized to battle symptoms.

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									Brighten Up Your Home to Combat SAD

Now that daylight savings time has ended for this year, the days are
getting shorter, and the reduction in natural daylight makes many feel
glum. For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the
symptoms of depression are more acute at this time of year. According to
the American Lighting Association (ALA), there are some things
homeowners can do to counteract the effects of SAD.
It‟s clear that people need bright days and dark nights, a finding confirmed
by a report by the Lighting Research Center in New York. Consumers
might have seen “light boxes” promoted as a solution; however, using a
light box is not a do-it-yourself project.
“It‟s easy to use the light boxes improperly,” says Terry McGowan, director
of engineering and technology for the ALA. “Light therapy – just like any
other drug or treatment regimen – should be prescribed by a physician.
Part of that „light prescription‟ will involve how much light, when it‟s to be
provided, and for how long,” says McGowan.
McGowan‟s research and concern about combatting the symptoms of
depression are personal as well as professional. “My wife is affected by
SAD,” he reveals. “We happen to live in northern Ohio, which has many
cloudy days and weeks of gloomy weather during November and
December. In the dining room and kitchen, the use of indirect lighting
brightens the room on a gloomy day outside and supplements the daylight
through skylights and large windows. At night, the indirect lighting is turned
off, and a series of accent lights plus table and floor lamps are used to
illuminate the task areas, table and artwork.”
There are some options regarding light bulbs that can help, in addition to
natural light. Brian Creeley, director of residential sales for light bulb
manufacturer Bulbrite, suggests switching out standard incandescent bulbs
with versions that mimic the effects of “full spectrum lighting, leaving you
with lighting that has the same effect that you get from sunlight.”
These specialty bulbs are readily available at ALA-member lighting stores.
If an existing home or condo does not have a lot of natural daylight,
McGowan offers these tips for making rooms brighter and more cheerful:
• Maximize any available morning daylight.
 • Use light colors for room
 • Use high-reflectance white paint for the
 • Incorporate an indirect light source into your room.
 • Use
accent and spot lights to add bright accents on plants, decorations or
feature areas, creating an effect similar to sunshine and shadows.
Homeowners should evaluate whether their home is properly illuminated
during the winter months. A visit to a nearby ALA-member lighting
showroom to consult with a professional will result in a personally tailored
solution. For more information, visit

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