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Library Program Combats Winter Blues

by on January 31, 2017

The Lawrence Public Library (LPL) in Kansas has started a new program for local patrons to help combat those pesky winter blues. LPL recognizes that many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and have scheduled times in their auditorium for patrons to come in and soak up some light from therapy lamps that mimic natural outdoor light. The LPL auditorium is equipped with comfortable seating, and the library staff has made sure to stock the room with books and magazines for those participating, but patrons are also encouraged to bring in their own materials.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a variety of depression that is related to changes in seasons, most manifested in the winter months, starting as early as the end of fall and lasting all the way through mid-spring. Sufferers lack energy and feel moody.

Light therapy lamps (often referred to as light boxes) produce Kelvin UV-free light designed to boost your mood and mimic the effects of a sunny day, thereby fighting off the effects of SAD. The UV blockers help counteract the eye and skin damage that regular sunlight can cause. “Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.”[1]

Light therapy is used for treating SAD by helping to reset the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm, which is disrupted during winter months, when it is usually darker and without sunlight for most of the day. Some of the benefits of light therapy include fighting off fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and depression. It is often preferred over medicinal therapy because it is safer and easier for the patients.

Kate Gramlich is the organizer of this program for LPL and hopes that part of the therapeutic effects will be a sense of community. People who are suffering from SAD can come in and see that they are not alone. Any questions about this program can be directed to Kate at kgramlich@lplks.org.


Reference

[1] Mayo Clinic staff, “Light Therapy,” Mayoclinic.org , March 19, 2016.



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