We’ve reached a difficult time of year where many of us feel betrayed by the sun. Going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark—it just feels so…unnatural.
Not only does it deprive our bodies of vitamin D, but it also directly affects our circadian rhythms, the signals within our body that tell us when to sleep and when to wake. When those rhythms become disrupted, our bodies feel confused and out of sorts. For some, it can cause mood swings, depression and lethargy, commonly known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This chronic feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, low energy and feeling sluggish, hopeless or agitated affects as many as 10 million Americans, and it’s 4-times more common in women than in men.
Whether it’s a mild case of the winter blues or a significant case of SAD, one of the best remedies is light therapy—exposure to light that mimics natural daylight to restore order to your circadian rhythm and alleviate the symptoms.
Smart LED lighting can help chase away the winter blues by replicating longer daylight hours, reducing stress and enhancing your mood. For many, feeling better could be as simple as screwing in a lightbulb. Here are 5 ways to put smart lighting to work in your home to combat the wintertime funk.
- Extend light later into the evening. As the days get shorter, not only does the sun disappear sooner, but the color temperature of its light output changes. You know the feeling—that sense that it’s becoming twilight already at 4 p.m.? Counteract that decline in color temperature by installing color tuning light bulbs like the Element Plus. This feature lets you turn up the color temperature to a brighter, more vibrant hue, mimicking mid-day light longer into the afternoon and early evening. This can help you feel less lethargic and ready to hibernate as soon as you come home from work. Then, as bedtime approaches, Element Plus can be programmed to transition to a warmer, more dusk-like output, which signals to your body that it’s nearing time for sleep, leveraging your natural circadian rhythms to help you fall asleep faster.
- Awake refreshed and revived. Instead of dragging yourself out of bed and slogging down cups of coffee to wake up, use Element to wake up more naturally, feeling refreshed. By programming Element to turn on gradually at your desired wake time and increase the color temperature (Plus only), the light can mimic the sunrise, no matter what it looks like outside. As the light brightens and becomes cooler and crisper, your body responds with natural wake-up signals that make you feel more energetic and ready to take on the day.
- Enjoy a multi-sensory mood boost. Light and sound can work hand in hand to help push away the blah, bleak and boring feelings of wintertime blues. Just a few seconds is all it takes to install the Pulse or Solo speaker bulbs, each featuring built-in JBL Bluetooth speakers that allow you to enjoy your favorite mood-enhancing tunes throughout your home. Cuing up your favorite upbeat playlist might even make you feel like busting a move, and voila! – you’ve “accidentally” snuck a tad of mood-boosting exercise into your day as well. Win-Win!
- Host a festive get-together. It’s common to feel a bit socially withdrawn this time of year, especially if the cold or inclement weather keeps you stuck at home for extended periods of time. Shake the social shyness by hosting a get together with friends complete with fun lighting effects to create a festive ambience. Element makes sure you have the perfect mood lighting in every room, while Pulse provides the perfect playlist sure to keep guests grooving.
- Manage bill-related stress. Thanks to holiday spending, higher heat bills and keeping more lights on, this time of year can be tough on the budget. Smart LED lighting can help reduce bill-related worries by helping you cut back and keep tabs on energy use. For starters, LED bulbs are more efficient, using far less energy, than incandescent bulbs. Switching out the bulbs in just a single fixture can reduce energy use in that fixture alone by 80 percent. Multiplied over all of the fixtures in your home, that can add up quickly to some serious savings. Using a programmable bulb like Element can cut costs even more by allowing you to schedule lighting to turn on and off, so it’s used only when needed. And, if you forget to turn the lights off when you leave, Element lets you flip the switch remotely from your smartphone, all helping to reduce waste and save money. Even better, with Element, you can track your lights’ energy consumption in real-time on the mobile app to see just how much you’re saving.
By adding smart lighting to your home, struggling through the winter blues can become a thing of the past. In fact, installing mood-enhancing programmable lights now can give you a head start on preventing the onset of symptoms this time next year. We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and with the wide variety of affordable, simple-to-install smart lighting solutions available, it’s never been easier to beat back the wintertime blahs.