Full Spectrum Lighting:
How to Use it to Feel Better

Exposing yourself to full spectrum lighting will increase your serotonin levels, helping you to feel more calm, relaxed, happy, and energetic. Using bright light therapy for treating PMS or PMDD is effective and easy.

If you need proof, then just observe people when it’s been cloudy and rainy for several days. Then watch them after the sun comes out. I bet they act a lot happier and are friendlier too. That’s because the sunlight increases serotonin levels in people.

What Kind of Light?
You have two choices for bright light therapy: natural sunlight or a light box. Light therapy works by the light shining into your eyes. Try to expose yourself to 15-30 minutes of light daily. You may find out you need more or less.

A light box has special bulbs that provide full spectrum lighting. It will do the same thing that the sun will do as far as increasing serotonin levels. When using a light box, don’t look directly into the light. The light will reflect off of surfaces around you and go back into your eyes. You just need to sit near the light.

Using Sunlight
Just go outside and don’t wear sunglasses. Serotonin is increased by sunlight, which is full spectrum lighting. Melatonin is increased by darkness. The way your body knows whether it’s dark or light is through your eyes.

You can just sit in the sun, go for a walk, do some yard work or gardening, read a book - just do anything as long as you’re in the sun. Sunlight shining into your eyes will increase serotonin levels. You don’t need to and should not look directly into the sun.

Many people will say they don’t have time during the day because they’re working. So you may need to get creative. Use your lunch break to go outside, take a walk, or eat your lunch outside. If you’re at home with the kids, take them with you.

When?
Most people benefit from bright light therapy done first thing in the morning. By getting their dose of light early, there are more hours left in the day to feel good. They get their day started off right, so the rest of the day is better.

If you can’t get sunlight in the morning, try to be outside sometime during the day when the light is brighter, as opposed to evening when it starts to get weaker. If it’s winter and you live far from the equator, you may need a light box since the sun isn’t as strong.

Using a light box will also provide you with full spectrum lighting. You could use it while you eat breakfast or right when you get to work in the morning.

Why?
Bright light therapy is easy and free. One of the best things about light is you don’t need a prescription, you don’t have to even visit your doctor, and there are no side effects. Just monitor how much time you’re spending outdoors - you don’t want to get sunburned.

Letting the sun shine on your skin will also enable your body to manufacture vitamin D, which is important for making you feel better mentally and emotionally. It’s also needed for the absorption of calcium.

A little bit of sun is not going to give you skin cancer. People are slathering sunscreen all over their bodies in hopes of preventing cancer, while completely disregarding all the chemicals in the sunscreen that their skin is absorbing.

Without the sun, there would be no life on this planet. The sun makes everything grow and keeps us warm. It gives life. People have been living here on Earth, under the sun, for millions of years. I realize the ozone layer is being depleted, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to stay out of the sun completely. Some exposure is O.K.

And since we now know how important light is to our mental and emotional health, especially if you have PMS or PMDD, it’s important to get out there in the sun or get yourself a light box!

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