Is Your Lack Of Light Exposure
Causing You To Be Depressed?


Is Your Lack Of Light Exposure Causing You To Be Depressed?

Unknown to many, the link between light and depression causes goes beyond seasonal depression.

What is probably more commonly known is that seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a case of depressive symptoms brought about by the lack of light exposure in the dark winter months.

Modern lifestyle and light shortage

What many people overlook is how the modern lifestyle can also bring about a shortage of light exposure, and hence depressive symptoms, winter months or not.

The modern lifestyle is characterized by spending many hours indoor, whether in the office (for work), in the shopping centres (for play) or at home. And since natural sunlight is very much brighter than indoor lighting – even an overcast day outside is more than 3 times brighter than a living room with all the lights switched on [1], the modern man who is indoor from dawn to dusk often finds himself suffering from a shortage of light. And unfortunately, he might not be aware of this deficiency.

How light shortage causes depression

The shortage of bright light and depression are highly linked.

The shortage of bright light hinders the maintenance of serotonin by the body. Serotonin helps to calm the brain’s depressive stress response as well as boosts feelings of well-being. [1]

In darkness, less serotonin is produced and in fact, serotonin is broken down more rapidly by the brain. This is because the brain equates darkness with sleep and less serotonin is needed during sleep. Over time, levels of serotonin in the brain become low, resulting in depressive moods. [2]

In the absence of sufficient bright light, the body clock, or circadian rhythm, also starts to malfunction. Bodily processes and functions start to fall out of step with one another. [1]

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