Fatigue is much more than simple tiredness and is one of the most common symptoms of S.A.D. Even if you do not have any of the other symptoms of S.A.D you can still benefit from using a lightbox to help fatigue.
Light therapy has been shown to be very effective in increasing energy levels and for this reason alone it is well worth using a lightbox.
Light Therapy can:
- Alleviate tiredness and increase alertness
- Increase energy levels
- Help sleep problems
- Ease anxiety problems
- Reduce the craving for carbohydrates
- Increase libido
Many of the symptoms of ME which is an extreme form of fatigue are similar to those of SAD and sufferers often feel worse during the winter months. The most debilitating of these are the lethargy, tiredness and often sleep problems which leave it difficult for people to cope with fighting ME. These are the areas where a SAD lightbox can help.
It is relatively recently that lightboxes designed for S.A.D. have been used by ME sufferers, and we have had good reports of people using a lightbox to help them deal with the symptoms of this condition. If you are thinking of using a lightbox to treat ME, please read the section below on how to choose a lightbox and when to use it carefully as you need to be particularly careful with its use to maximize its effectiveness.
If your ME symptoms are severe, do contact your doctor.
How to choose a lightbox
When choosing a S.A.D. lightbox it is best to choose a 'switchable' one like the Diamond 3 (where you can control the amount of light produced by the lightbox) from the 30 minute treatment time range so that you can build up your treatment gradually.
When to use a S.A.D. Lightbox
Use it as early as possible when you get up in the morning - even if this is not very early because your tiredness has caused a late start to your day. Do not try to use it too much too quickly - build up slowly.
It can also be useful to keep a simple diary, recording the date, the amount of time you used the lightbox and how you felt afterwards. If you overdo it one day just look back and choose a time that you were most comfortable with and start building your treatment up slowly again.
- Always start by using the lightbox at a low level, to prevent a relapse from overtaxing your system.
- Place the lightbox on a stable surface at about face height, and at an arm's distance away. It should be at a slight angle as you should not look directly at the lightbox, but the light must be able to enter the eye.
- If you have one of the 'switchable' models then start by using one lamp for about 10 minutes for the first couple of days. If you have a lightbox with only one switch then increase the distance you are away from it and turn it to a steeper angle so that you do not get so much light.
- Gradually increase the amount of time to about half an hour.
- When you have reached 30 minutes with one lamp, use two lamps for 10 minutes, and build up to half-hour treatment again. Repeat until you can use all three lamps for half an hour. If you are using a lightbox without the extra switches, gradually decrease the distance you are sitting from your lightbox and turn it towards you to get more light.
- If you feel no side effects, such as a mild headache or over stimulation when you start using your lightbox then you can build up the time more quickly. Do be careful not to take too much treatment during the first few days or if you have stopped using the lightbox for any reason.
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