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Power Up with Light Therapy

Light Therapy Lamps are Now Available for Borrowing and Use at the Library

Daylight Saving Time has reached its end, and as the clocks fall back, we say hello to the onset of duskier mornings and darker evenings in Nova Scotia.

Enjoy the rays, two ways, year-round:

-Light Therapy Stations are now available for you to use at all branches of Halifax Public Libraries. Ask a staff member!

-Smaller Light Therapy To-Go Lamps are available for borrowing with your Library card. Place a hold online through Discover.

*Note: This photo does not depict recommended lamp positioning for use. Please view our Quick Guide for instructions.

Why Light Therapy?

The Library is always working to reflect and respond to the needs of our community. We recognize that reduced exposure to sunlight can have a negative effect on the wellbeing of many in our community. Many people experience seasonal mood changes as fall and winter bring darker, colder days.

Light therapy lamps are designed to mimic spring and summer light levels. Sitting in front of a lamp for 20 to 30 minutes can help ease symptoms of the “winter blues” and clinically diagnosed seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Halifax Public Libraries’ 14 free public venues throughout HRM, and our ability to easily loan and catalogue items make the Library the perfect venue to meet this community need and shed a little light throughout the fall and winter months.

A Quick Guide to Light Therapy Lamps

Please read our Light Therapy Safety Facts carefully before using a lamp. 

  1. Take a seat about two feet away from the lamp.

  2. Turn on the lamp. Do not stare directly into the light.

  3. Adjust the lamp to suit your position. The lamp head should be angled at about 30° from vertical and your face should be aligned with the approximate centre of the lamp.

  4. Read or work in front of the lamp for 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Turn off the lamp when done.

Light Therapy Safety Facts

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If you experience symptoms of SAD such as fatigue, sadness, weight gain, poor sleep, and social withdrawal, please see a doctor before using the lamp. It is very important not to diagnose yourself, because there may be other causes for these symptoms.

Side Effects
Light therapy is safe and there are no known long-term side effects. Short-term side effects are rare. If side effects occur, they are usually mild and can include nausea, headaches and/or eye strain. If you experience discomfort, stop using the lamp and contact your doctor.

Doctor Approval
Light therapy is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor before starting light therapy if:

  • You take medications or herbal supplements that increase sensitivity to sunlight, such as certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or St. John's Wort
  • You have an eye condition that makes your eyes sensitive to light
  • You have bipolar disorder

Disclaimer

Light therapy is not a cure, but may be part of a regimen to address the symptoms of some circadian mood disorders. Use of the lamp is at your own discretion.

Halifax Public Libraries is not liable for any health issues related to use of these lamps.

For more information on SAD and light therapy, please speak to Library staff, or check out the resources below.

Resources

Mayo Clinic – Light Therapy

Mayo Clinic – Seasonal Affective Disorder

Cleveland Clinic – Seasonal Depression

Canadian Mental Health Association (British Columbia) – Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Robert Levitan, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder [video]

Feedback?   

We’d love to hear about your experience with Light Therapy at Halifax Public Libraries.

Share your comments with staff, or send us an email at asklib@halifax.ca

 

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