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It's official: Summer is over. While plenty of people get excited about the official start of the fall season, others can struggle with a change in mood and even depression due to the shorter days and cooler weather.
A more severe change in your mood when the seasons change could be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mental health condition usually starts in the fall or early winter and gets better by spring or summer, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The symptoms of SAD can vary, but NIMH says they usually include:
Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Having low energy
Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
Having problems sleeping
Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
Feeling sluggish or agitated
Having difficulty concentrating
Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
There are treatments available for SAD, and one of the most common is the use of light therapy. This involves exposing people to bright, artificial light to help replace the lack of sunshine they have in the winter, NIMH says. It's usually recommended that people with SAD sit in front of a light box for 20 to 60 minutes every day from early fall until spring.
Light therapy is "considered therapeutic in general for SAD but, like any therapeutic tool, it does not work for everyone," says Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital and host of the “How Can I Help?" podcast from iHeartRadio. More severe cases of SAD, for example, may need additional therapy to help a patient get relief, she says.
Light therapy isn't just for SAD sufferers — it can also help people who tend to feel a little more off in the winter, Saltz says. "If you tend to feel blah with lower mood seasonally, then ... light therapy in this case could help," she says. Light therapy has no major side effects "and is safe, and so it's worth trying," Saltz says. Just keep this in mind: It can take a few weeks to notice results.
Interested in trying out light therapy? Saltz says you need to get "the correct type of therapeutic light," which means it needs to have a minimum of 10,000 lux of bright white light "with unsafe UV bands filtered out." To use it, she recommends sitting in front of the light box first thing in the morning, starting with 10 minutes a day and working your way up to more over the course of a few weeks. Pro tip, per Saltz: Don't look directly at the light, but place it in front and to the side of you so that it shines on your face. "You can read or watch TV or do something as long as your eyes are open, so the light can enter without looking at it," she says.
Want to give it a try? These light-therapy lamps are currently on sale at Amazon — and they each have plenty of fans who swear they really work.
Amazon will give you free shipping on all these items. But if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get so much more — from access to new movies to two-day shipping on many items. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here.
The Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp looks like a regular desk lamp but does so much more. This Amazon bestseller is UV-free and features 10,000 lux of brightness to help mimic the colors of daylight, boosting your mood in the process. It's also long-lasting, providing about 50,000 hours of light before you'll need to replace a bulb. It's also really easy to use: Simply adjust the light to your liking and then choose from one of three brightness levels. Right now, by applying the on-page coupon (check the box) and the promo code 10CIRCYAHOO, you can get this lamp for just $35 (from $50).
"I have struggled with SAD ever since I moved to Seattle but this year has been particularly difficult. I was worried that this small light wouldn’t work for me. Boy was I wrong!" a five-star reviewer said. "The first day I used it, I felt like I’d drank a whole pot of coffee." Now, they said, they use it for an hour every day. "I love that it’s so adjustable. I can get it in just the right spot. The sun sets very early here in midwinter (4 p.m. or earlier) so I’ve also been doing another half-hour around sunset to keep my brain in the right schedule," they said. "When I do put it away I love that it folds down compactly with the light protected. I would feel comfortable traveling with it if need be."
Simple and discreet, this sleek Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp easily blends in with your decor. The UV-free lamp delivers the recommended 10,000 lux of brightness and is made to last through years of use. The whole thing is beyond easy to use: Simply tap the one-touch button on the LED light to ramp up the brightness as desired. It's now $40 with on-page coupon, down from $50.
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE this light," a happy customer said. "LED or not, it's the only therapy light available that looks acceptable to leave out around your house. I don't mind people seeing this on my bathroom counter because it looks like a lot like a fancy makeup light with the clean minimalist design. I got this because I have felt excessively drowsy since the end of daylight savings time, like I'm never fully waking up because I leave for work before it is fully light out, sit in a windowless office all day, and then drive home when it's fully dark. I use it for around 10 minutes in the morning while I'm getting ready and It does help me feel more awake and alert. I use it on a lower setting in the evening if I feel really drowsy after spending all day in my work cave."
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
Want more? Scroll for some of Amazon's best sales this week:
Want to see more Amazon deals? Check them out below:
Headphone and earbud deals:
Smartphone, smartwatch and tablet deals:
Fire HD 8 Kids Pro tablet, $90 (was $140), amazon.com
Smart home deals:
iRobot Roomba i7+, $749 (was $1,000), amazon.com
Eufy by Anker BoostIQ RoboVac, $176 (was $280), amazon.com
ANRABESS Womens Turtleneck, $30 (was $53), amazon.com
Bedding and home deals:
MooMee Bedding Duvet Cover Set, $60 (was $90), amazon.com
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