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Daylight lamp effect: A lamp that mimics the day?

Daylight lamp effect

When the days get shorter and the sun sets already in the afternoon, what happens? Exactly, you feel tired and listless earlier. And you are not alone in this: Towards winter, this is the problem of many people. The cause is the lack of light. Little or no light signals our body: 'Hey, time to get tired. It's almost time for bed.'

Well, that still goes. Being a little tired. Who cares? But: The early sunset can quickly lead to something really nasty. Namely into a real winter depression.

Winter depression usually occurs in the dark seasons like autumn and winter. That's what the name says. Those who suffer from this form of seasonal depression show the typical symptoms of depression for weeks or even months. These include listlessness, apathy and dejection.

That doesn't sound so harmless anymore, does it? The good thing is that just 2 out of 100 people actually suffer from winter depression. And yet it seems as if many more people are affected by the winter low in mood.

The fact is: lack of light is a real problem. And what we call winter depression in winter is often a 'normal' depressive episode that occurs regardless of winter.

Meaning: if you think you're suffering from winter depression, you may be basically struggling with depression.

Fortunately, there is a way out of a low mood. Light therapy can help with depressive moods. No matter what time of year it is.

When the mind is depressed: More daylight

If you suffer from depressive moods or show signs of depression, you should always seek medical advice. If you are suspected or even diagnosed with depression, a place in therapy is essential. And here the rule is: look for one as soon as possible. Sometimes you have to wait months or even years to get a therapy place.

You can use daylight lamps to accompany your therapy - or simply as a mood enhancer in everyday life. The light from these lamps imitates real daylight. By regularly using a light therapy lamp, you can counteract the lack of light. And make sure you get enough daylight. Even if you can't spend much time outside or the sun doesn't show much.

Nice to know: Many people think that walking and exercising outdoors counteracts the light mantle. Fact: Yes, outdoor exercise helps. But it's often not enough to meet the body's light needs. Then light therapy with a daylight lamp can help.

Why does a lack of light depress the mood?

A lack of daylight can upset the balance of melatonin and serotonin in our bodies. This is often the case in winter, when we get little sun. But also when you travel to areas where the sun doesn't shine much. Or even if you work in shifts and sleep a lot during the day. In all these cases, your 'inner clock' is often thrown off.

How does that happen?

As soon as we lack light, melatonin is released. This tells our body: Time to sleep. Serotonin, on the other hand, helps us wake up and is released when light is present. In other words, melatonin and serotonin have a decisive effect on our sleep-wake rhythm. But also on our mood. Because: serotonin is a kind of the body's own antidepressant. In the dark winter months and with a lack of light in general, you can develop a serotonin deficiency. Symptoms: Fatigue, lassitude, listlessness and melancholy.

Here, a daylight lamp can be the solution. When you regularly expose yourself to the light of a daylight lamp, your body ideally releases serotonin.

Studies have demonstrated this effect for many years. For example, a 1989 study showed that bright artificial light can reduce symptoms of seasonal depression in winter. Data from individual subjects from 14 research centers, who studied 332 patients over 5 years, were analyzed using a clustering technique. Overall, light exposure at a light intensity of 2500 lux for at least two hours daily for one week resulted in significantly more remissions.

Conclusion: Light therapy with daylight lamp can be very effective for depressive moods. In addition, light therapy - compared to treatment with dietary supplements or medications - is said to rarely cause side effects.

How does a daylight lamp

Daylight lamps come in all shapes and sizes. Manufacturers are a dime a dozen. But how do you find the right daylight lamp for your needs?

First of all, you can orient yourself on the design. What fits visually into your four walls and how big can the lamp be?

But most importantly, the lamp must imitate daylight. In other words, it must emit light that is closest to the midday sun.

The lamps emit daylight over a large area. We speak of daylight because the color of the light emitted is closest to our midday sun. Ideally, the lamp has a brightness of at least 2,500 lux and a maximum of 10,000 lux.

Application of the daylight lamp: This is how light therapy works

One thing in advance: A high-quality daylight lamp lasts for many years, even with regular use. So the investment pays off.

The primary goal of using a daylight lamp is to restore a healthy day-night rhythm. Or also to maintain it - for example when the days become shorter.

But now for the hard facts: How do you best use the daylight lamp?

We always recommend taking the manufacturer's specifications into account. You don't have any or would like to deviate from the specifications? Then expose yourself to the light of your daylight lamp with 10,000 lux for half an hour every day. Ideally, you should sit about half a meter away from the lamp. Of course, you can leave your eyes open.

If your daylight lamp has less than 10,000 lux, spend a correspondingly longer time in front of the lamp.

By the way, testimonials and studies show that mornings are the best time for light therapy. So try to incorporate irradiation into your morning routine. You don't have to sit still in front of the lamp. You can go about many of your daily activities as normal, such as eating, reading, or working while you are receiving light.

Note: Guidelines and instructions are all well and good. But you know your body best. So if you notice that a longer irradiation has a better effect, then go ahead. And if you prefer to do the radiation in the evening, you can of course do that too. Just try out what works for you.

Bonus: Determine your chronotype

Every person has their own internal clock. And this determines the chronotype. Perhaps you have already noticed it yourself. Some people are more productive in the morning, others in the evening. But what is a chronotype?

According to psychologist Michael Breus, a distinction is made between the chronotypes bear, dolphin, lion and wolf. The bear corresponds to people who like to sleep a lot and also take a nap sometimes during the day. This type nevertheless arranges its day with the sun.

The chronotype dolphin is characterized by a light sleep. He wakes up frequently during the night - especially in the presence of light and noise. In addition, the dolphin often has problems falling asleep because he still broods in bed for a long time. While the chronotype dolphin is rather unproductive in the morning, he has his performance peak at noon. In the evening, the performance decreases sharply again.

If you can and want to hit the ground running right in the morning, you're probably a Leo. This chronotype gets up early and is immediately super fit. On the other hand, he has a blatant afternoon low. In the evening there can be more active phases again - but basically this chronotype likes to go to bed early.

That leaves the wolf. And he is - as you can probably imagine - a nocturnal chronotype. When the sun goes down and night falls, people with this chronotype really wake up. The darkness can't do anything to their mind. On the contrary, after sunset, wolves rev up and get a lot of work done. On the other hand, wolves are not early risers and - as soon as they really have to get out of bed - have a hard time getting up. Besides, a few hours have to pass before wolves wake up properly.

Maybe you find yourself in one of the above chronotypes? Then try to plan the use of the daylight lamp according to your type. As a wolf, you ideally benefit from morning irradiation. As a dolphin, you should avoid using daylight lamps in the evening. And as a lion, early evening irradiation may be worthwhile. As a bear, you are quite flexible as far as the time period for your light therapy is concerned.

If you find it difficult to determine your chronotype, ask yourself how you would organize your day if you had complete freedom of choice. In other words, independent of work and family commitments. There are also online tests that can help you determine your chronotype.

FAQ Daylight Lamps

Can daylight lamps produce vitamin D?

In Germany, 30.2% of adults have an insufficient supply of vitamin D. A sufficient supply is achieved by just 38.4% of adults. So there is a lack of sunlight. No wonder, then, that vitamin D status is subject to strong seasonal fluctuations.

Seasonal fluctuations Vitamin D

Source: JoHM_2016_02_ernaehrung4.pdf (Martina Rabenberg, Gert B.M. Mensink).

Can a daylight lamp help with vitamin D deficiency?

Unfortunately, no. Ultraviolet light (UV-B) is needed for the synthesis of vitamin D. This does not occur with light therapy. To get UV-B radiation, you really need to expose yourself to real sunlight.

I have trouble falling asleep - when should I use a daylight lamp?

Problems falling asleep are often due to too little melatonin in the body. The blue light from TV, PC and smartphone screens inhibits the release of this hormone. And that can be fatal, because: Melatonin regulates your internal clock.

Daylight lamps have the same effect as the blue light of displays. If you expose yourself to the light of a daylight lamp too late in the evening - or even shortly before going to bed - you fool your body into thinking it's daytime. And thus wake it up.

For you, this means: Ideally, do not use the daylight lamp in the evening. And certainly not shortly before going to bed. Then your problems falling asleep will hopefully decrease. Tip: Wear Blueblocker glasses two hours before bedtime to signal to your brain that it's time to go to sleep soon.

Are there any side effects when using a daylight lamp?

Side effects are very rare when using a daylight lamp. However, the use of such lamps can cause discomfort. First of all, headaches, burning and dry eyes or reddening of the skin.

If you experience any of the above side effects when starting light therapy - or any other side effects - you don't have to banish your daylight lamp. You can avoid the discomfort with a few easy-to-implement tips. Shorten the time of irradiation. Choose a different time of day to use your daylight lamp. And use humidifiers.

2 comments

  • How much power does the Luce ring light consume?
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    Lichtblock replied:
    Hi Stefi, with our consumption meter, the real consumption of the red light is 12.7W at the highest level and the consumption of the daylight is 18.5W. We wish you a happy new year! Greetings, your Lichtblock team

    Stefi
  • How much lux is your daylight lamp? Thanks and LG
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    Lichtblock replied:
    Hi Gabi, thanks for your question! The daylight mode of our ring light measures about 10000 lux at 10 cm distance and about 2500 lux at 40 cm. We like to use the mode in the morning to wake up faster. Best regards, your Lichtblock team

    Gabi

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