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Old 11-26-2014, 04:57 PM
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This is my 4th winter in an area with a pretty northern latitude. It gets dark really early by winter solstice, & with the sun going behind mountains, even moreso. Plus, days are frequently cloudy and raining, so darker still. I actually get an oppressive, pressing-down feeling. Doesn't start to brighten in the a.m. till 8, later when raining.

The first 2 winters were better, maybe because I was working. But then I got a job-related injury which confined me to the house. After that, lost my job completely. Spouse was working 70 miles away (not now), so was really isolated, as we really haven't befriended many people.

Anyway, the winters are getting harder to take. I spent my entire life in a sunny climate & I really don't miss the heat & constant sun. I love the other seasons here, especially summer, but November to February...well it's scaring me. My only escape is sleep.

I borrowed a Happy Light last year, but the light really bothered my eyes. I tried it for a few days & felt no change. Maybe I did something wrong, I just sat in front of it.

Can anyone share their experiences? I can't afford to go south during winter & I really did not expect this to happen to me.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:40 PM
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Instead of just using a light alone I'd look into getting and setting up a well lit decent size fish aquarium. We have lake taverns all round us. Nearly every single one has a large fish tank inside it. They are well lit and of both fresh water and some salt water varieties. Get some colorful fish that really pop or are unique and fun to watch. It's always nice going in there in the middle of the winter when the lake beside or behind the place is frozen solid and you see fresh, unfrozen, moving, running water with fish in it. They use a lot of outdoorsy and campy decorations in the place. If you have ever been inside a Famous Dave's BBQ place, it is very similar. The taverns were doing it decades before Dave's did it. It also gives a "summer" like feel to the place and I always love the atmosphere when I go.

Picture "this" with some fish aquariums in it.




You get the idea I think.....
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:46 PM
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Haha....I found an actual pic of one of the taverns inside.

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Old 11-27-2014, 10:52 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
31,298 posts, read 50,601,455 times
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I had not heard of 'Happy Lights' before this thread.

I served for 20 years in the submarine service. Living underwater we only have fluorescent lighting, and lots of it. Nearly every space on a sub is brightly lit. It is not the appropriate light frequency bandwidth to match a 'Happy Light', but S.A.D. does not appear to be a factor among crewmen.

During my career, I averaged 7 months every year living under, I am not aware of the fluorescent lighting triggering depression.

On the other hand, now I live in Maine. I just came inside from plowing our driveway after a foot+ snow storm. I have to wear brazing goggles when I plow snow, because it is so incredibly bright out there. It is bright like this after every snow storm, with a thick white blanket of snow on everything the glare is terribly bright.

I dont know how folks do it up North where they have dark winters. I have visited Northern extremes a few times, months of darkness could certainly get boring. Down here in the more Southern Latitudes, thankfully we have plenty of sunlight.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:47 AM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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In my area, we go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. For the months of Novemer - February it sometimes seems you never see the sun.

Florecent lights, usually in the soft white, don't cover the whole light spectrum. You can get ones that mimic the whole spectrum of daylight, but they cost more.

I was primarily on carriers for my sea duty, O-3 Level, the blue light district which is kept in blue so blood doesn't show, but you can't see anything else either! That said, there were still places I could go to see out into the sunshine.

Now for winter I have my shop lighted with full spectrum LEDs and enough lights for a pretty bright interior. I keep it that way for both the fact it's easier to see what I'm working on, and also to counteract the seemingly eternal darkness for 4 months of the year.

I've never been effected by SAD, but I was born and raised here so it's normal to me. I can imagine it would be tough for someone losing that light they were used to.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:02 PM
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I have not yet tried a light box but I know people who have been helped by them. If you own your home you could install some skylights or sola tubes. Having natural light come in from above is nice, even if it isn't bright sunlight. Also maybe replace your lights with full spectrum where you can. I got the four footer tubes for the kitchen in a decorative fixture and full spectrum, it has made a huge difference, I will never go without those again.

Other things are to take extra vitamin d, use a sun lamp or tanning bed if you don't mind them. I use my little sunlamp for short periods and it makes me feel better in the winter. That is not the same as a light box (happy lamp) but when we spend the whole northern winter inside and in the dark we are deprived of natural sunlight/vitamins that can cause a lot of problems even if we don't feel them happening.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:07 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,760 posts, read 55,906,678 times
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Having sufficient light is one way of fighting SADS, but there are others.

If you are keeping your house colder to save money, get a clamp-on light and a 75 watt incandescent reflector lamp for it, and aim it at your feet and legs from about 18" away. The gentle radiant heat there will reduce the natural tension in your body as a reaction to cold and make it feel like it is on a beach in south Florida.

The constant reinforcement of cold and dark simply doesn't need to be in an internet age with cheap computers and big bright monitors. I have a custom page of webcams that is my home page on my browser. In addition to local weather, I look at cams from around the world and get to see what the weather is in real time at those places. These two are generally cheery:

If you have the bandwidth and a spare monitor/computer you can make a virtual window from one of the streaming webcams. nyharborwebcam.com has other harbors like Ft. Lauderdale and the Bahamas, Earthcam has streaming cams in Florida, and you can even stream Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West on break time. Watch the bar cam there for a while, call them up and see if you can order a drink for one of the unattached people at the bar.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:18 AM
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I am very appreciative of all the suggestions & will be trying them. Already started with Vitamin D. Also, where would I find full spectrum bulbs & do they go by another name? Thanks for all the help!
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