My Happy Light

I got a Verilux HappyLight for Christmas. It was given to me by my sister-in-law who is a psychologist and someone who has/had BPD. Is it possible to have had Borderline Personality Disorder? I mean, does it go away or become manageable? Of course, I have no idea what goes on in her head or in her private life, but I haven’t seen the type of symptoms my husband says she displayed when she was younger. I feel like I can’t ask her about it because mental illness is not an approved topic of conversation in my husband’s family. Plus, Hubby has told me her story and I’m not sure if she wanted me to know everything.

Anyway, Hubby had mentioned declining mental health to her, that’s why she got me this happy light. It is the type of light used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (which I don’t have). Thankfully, Hubby warned me that she was getting me something depression-related, so I knew to be discrete (aka hide it from my mother in law) when I opened it. My sister-in-law later explained to me her reasoning behind this slightly awkward gift. This light is supposed to help with sleep. When it comes to sleep, I need all the help I can get! She said a couple of the people in the psych department where she works have them and they have said they do sleep better so she thought maybe it would help me. Thoughtful.  🙂

Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft

 

So, I have tried it. I’m supposed to set it within 2 feet of my face for about half an hour everyday. I have to make sure my eyes are exposed to the light. It is bright, but there are settings to control the brightness. Plus, the discomfort it causes wears off pretty quickly. I expect it will be a little while before I experience improvement with sleep. I hope I can remember to use it every day. I have used it three times so far, today included. I have slept better the two nights after remembering to use it. I don’t know if that’s coincidence or not, but it’s enough to encourage me a bit.

The box calls it “natural spectrum light”….. whatever that means. I’m hoping they mean visible spectrum. They do state that it is UV-free which is what I was most concerned about. The light interacts with melatonin, the hormone that controls your internal body clock. Melatonin fluctuations tell our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up. This hormone also interacts with dopamine, one of the major mental health hormones. This explains why the happy light also claims to improve mood, increase energy and reduce carb cravings. Sounds like a miracle to me! We’ll see.

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