Thursday, November 3, 2016

Get Light @ the Library!

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Daylight saving time is upon us.  As it gets dark outside, come on in the Libraries and get some light!

University of Alberta Libraries, with support from the University of Alberta Healthy Campus Unit, is pleased to provide our campus community with access to light therapy lamps, which can help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Light therapy lamps can be borrowed for 1 hour at a time for in library use at the following locations: Augustana Library, Bibliotheque Saint-Jean, Cameron Library, Coutts Library, Rutherford Library, Weir Law Library, and Winspear Business Library.  Check here for current availability of lamps. You can also visit Scott Library and use their light therapy lamp, located in the Scott Student Lounge.

Exposure to light that mimics sunlight is believed to alter brain chemicals that moderate mood, helping to relieve feelings of fatigue, anxiety, low mood, and loss of motivation that can commonly occur during the winter months. In as little as 15-20 minutes a day, symptoms can be relieved by using light therapy.

Light therapy is safe, but please keep the following in mind before and during use:

  • Refrain from using lamp if you are taking medications that causes photosensitivity, including certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and St. John’s Wort
  • Before using lamp consult with a physician if you suffer from, or have a history of, any of the following conditions: photosensitivity due to lupus, porphyria, actinic dermatitis or solar urtincaria; macular degeneration; skin cancer; bipolar disorder; or light sensitivity.
  • When using lamp
    • position it so it does not shine directly into your eyes or anyone else's
    • position it so it is angled above or beside you, approximately 16-20 inches from your head
    • limit use to 15-20 minutes at a time
    • consider sessions earlier in the day for most effect

Light therapy is not a cure for depression and other mood disorders. If you are experiencing a prolonged period of extreme sadness, low motivation or feelings of hopelessness we encourage you to contact your physician or the University of Alberta’s Counselling & Clinical Services.

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