Does winter weather get you down? Do you find yourself getting depressed during the cold winter months when the days are shorter and it is too cold to go outside? If so, you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. One way to treat this disorder is through the use of a sun lamp. Sun lamps are available for home and commercial use. While the bulbs last a long time--even years perhaps--eventually they must be replaced. It is easy to find replacement bulbs for your sun lamp.
In 1984, Dr. Norman Rosenthal and colleagues presented a paper that defined Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and described the use of artificial light to treat SAD. Artificial sunlight was used to mimic the length of the summer day. Later studies have shown that short periods of exposure to artificial sunlight each day are enough to counter symptoms of depression. Short bursts of the light are used to mimic a spring sunrise. In 2005, an American Psychiatric Association group concluded that sun lamp light therapy could be used instead of or in addition to drugs to treat depression.
Sun lamps emit UVA and UVB light. These are the short, ultraviolet waves found in natural sunlight. UVA light is known as the "tanning ray." Pigment in the skin darkens in response to exposure to UVA light. This darkening of the skin is a defensive response by the body to protect the skin from damaging UV radiation. UVB light stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D. Sunlight is the most efficient method for vitamin D production. While foods have been fortified with vitamin D, many people are deficient in this necessary nutrient.
Sun lamps are used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, acne, sleep disorders, vitamin D deficiency and depression. Some sleep disorders are linked to body temperature and melatonin secretion becoming out of rhythm. Exposure to sun lamps in the morning and evening helps to reset the body's internal clock. Sun lamps are being considered for treatment of bipolar disorder, eating disorders, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleep disruptions and daytime agitation associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Overexposure to UV light can lead to increased risk of skin cancer. Use of sun lamps also carries risk of burn injury. The eyes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of UV radiation and corneal burns can result from exposure. UV exposure promotes premature aging of the skin and may contribute to cataracts, as well. Goggles should be worn when using a sun lamp or tanning bed. Additionally, some medications increase photosensitivity and sun lamp exposure should be limited while on such medications.
Sun lamps are available in a variety of forms. In addition to commercial and home tanning beds and tanning booths, light boxes and phototherapy lamps are available. A simple Internet search will yield many vendors who sell both the sun lamps and the replacement bulbs. If used for 10 minutes a day, a bulb can last up to four years. Modern light boxes are available which can treat SAD without emitting harmful UV radiation.
If you bought your sun lamp or tanning bed from a local vendor, check with that vendor first when shopping for replacement bulbs. You may even be able to receive a discount for being a repeat customer. Dealers vary by location. You may also check discount stores, office stores or home improvement stores. Depending on the type of sun lamp you own, these stores may have bulbs available. By shopping locally, you can see exactly what you're getting before you buy and ensure that you are getting the correct bulb for your use.
The Internet provides endless possibilities when shopping for anything, including bulbs for a sun lamp. There are many online resources for purchasing sun lamps and tanning beds. These sources sell bulbs, as well. In addition, there are resources which sell only the bulbs and not the lamps. Shopping online can save you time and money if you already know what you are looking for.
- sexy tanning image by Alfonso d'Agostino from Fotolia.com