Winter’s not over yet, and come March, there’s a high chance that your natural vitamin D levels will trough. That’s bad news for your mental and emotional health, as research has closely linked SAD (seasonal affective disorder) with low or deficient vitamin D levels.
As a little science refresher: Your body naturally makes vitamin D through sun exposure. But during the shorter days of winter, when the sun sits lower in the sky, we not only produce less vitamin D, but also burn through the stores of it in our livers and fatty tissues. This reserve gradually decreases throughout winter, “and by March the levels drop to the lowest,” says author and pharmacist Inna Lukyanovsky.
That’s why getting a little extra light in the winter and early spring months could help elevate your mood, according to a handful of studies. And if you can’t get actual sunlight, many physicians recommend using a light therapy box at home, such as the Aurora Lightpad ($199) from Alaska Northern Lights and the Philips GoLite BLU Energy Therapy Lamp ($183). (A recent study suggests that white and blue light are equally effective at treating SAD.)
But you don’t have to commit to a hefty box to use light to your advantage. You could start by simply switching up your light bulbs.
On a mission to make healthy light more accessible at all times, the year-old lighting startup Brilli employed a circadian rhythm researcher, a neuroscientist, and a lighting color specialist to develop its WellBright Spectrum line of LED light bulbs. The techy bulbs aim to not only help reduce symptoms of SAD, but also help improve your health year-round by bringing natural light into the indoors, so you can get your biological rhythms in sync, boost your energy, improve sleep, and help stabilize and improve your mood.
The Charge Up bulbs specifically mimic the sun’s blue light, which can combat SAD. Blue light also suppresses melatonin, so you can feel more alert, energized, and focused during waking hours. For times when you want to calm down and relax, Brilli offers a line of Wind Down light bulbs, which emit mostly red and yellow wavelengths and reduce blue light down to almost zero. This allows your body to more easily signal the natural production of melatonin, so you can get the more restful sleep.
The idea is that you can use Charge-Up bulbs in the places where you need to feel focused, alert, and energized, such as your office or the vanity mirror where you get ready in the morning, and you can use the Wind-Down ones in areas where you, well, wind down from the day, like at your bedside table.
Each bulb is measured not only in Watts, but also Melanopic/Photopic Ratio (M/P). Circadian Stimulus (C/S), Flicker Sensitivity (PST), and percentage of Blue Light, which all add up to quality lights that won’t cause eye strain or headaches, and can boost or suppress melatonin at the right time of the day.
Brilli lights also carry the Energy Star rating for energy efficiency, so you can feel extra good about making the switch.
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