Shorter days and less sunlight in winter cause more than half of Americans to feel down; millions get depressed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, says Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center. But simply getting more light can keep the blahs at bay. Here’s how.
“Brightening your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day,” Terman says. Leave curtains and blinds open, and/or put lamps on a timer to switch on 15 minutes before your alarm sounds to get a “dawn simulation” effect.
Use compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which have color temperatures around 4,000 degrees Kelvin, to light high-traffic areas like the kitchen and family room. CFLs mimic sunlight better than incandescent bulbs.
Light therapy—sitting in front of a high-intensity fluorescent lamp for 30 minutes—can treat serious winter blues, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Consult your doc for info on this approach.