Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Light and placebo effects


It looks sorta glamorous in a plasticky way
Yesterday morning while I was having my breakfast, I switched on Mr Vain's Energylight.

Mr Vain suffers from a lot of imaginary defects etc. For instance, he thinks he has a chronic sinus infection, that he is too skinny and must work out lots and that he needs to take lots of protein supplements and other expensive things like ginseng and various seal oils.

One of his imaginary defects is that he can't sleep at night, which is probably because he goes to bed at like 2130 every day.

Mr Vain himself, however, thinks it is due to the lack of daylight which we suffer here up north.

So he has bought himself a Philips Energylight, which sits on our breakfast table, in front of which he positions himself in a little halo of white light every morning over his espresso.

Yesterday, when I had breakfast, I switched it on because I was too lazy to walk across the floor to the proper lamp. Hurts the eyes a bit, gives a reflection in my laptop, but all in all a functional if not cosy morning light.

And last night, you know what happened?

I felt sleepy. Really sleepy. At 2200 in the evening. So I managed to get to bed by 2300 and slept like a log until this morning. This never happens. My cortisol levels are waaay up there at the moment and usually I'm up till 0100 or so cause I just don't feel that tired.

But, I am now waiting for my eggs to boil again (when only one end floats, that means they're OK, right..?). It is foggy outside today, so foggy that the ocean below seems but some irregular flickering variation in a bucket of gray paint, and the sun is nowhere to be seen although it is already past 0900 in the morning. The lamp is on. Placebo effect or no, I'll take it.

I know of course that light therapy has been clinically proven to help people with SAD and delayed sleep phase disorders, but I have never really thought it had an effecdt on just "regular" people. I take myself as a clinical case study that it apparently does.


And no, Philips are not paying me for this post! Don't knock it till you've tried it..

12 comments:

  1. LauraJaneWilliams24 February 2009 at 19:38

    I've often wondered about those things... I swear I get sunshine withdrawals. I might just try it- whether you are sponsored by Philips or not!

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  2. Yes, do try! It's so worth it.. Placebo effect yes pls!

    Recent blog post: Light and placebo effects

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  3. The only time I ever sat in front of one of those lamps I felt great all day. However I'm too mean to buy one so try to get some natural daylight every day, not sure if I feel better for doing so but certainly I think I'd feel worse if I didn't. Are you going to continue the experiment?

    Recent blog post: Spring may be sprung

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  4. I will carry on, at least for the time being with my flatmate keeping the lamp by the breakfast table! They actually do research on light therapy at my university and they all say it works, so who am I to argue..

    The alternative, as you say, is to get about an hour a day of light outside between 9 and 12. Not always simple if you're working or studying, unfortunately. But I worked for a while in a kindergarten where we spent a lot of time outside. I never felt better!

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  5. Hope you are not disappointed when I say it was chicken eggs.. Also, it turned out one of them was off. It wasn't good. I'll spare you the detail.

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  6. Alright... I have to try this. I am constantly tired from a busy schedule, yet can never fall asleep once I hit the sack.

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  7. A pretty crappy situation to be in! Could be a light issue, but could also mean you're stressed, and that your cortisol levels, which spike in the morning and gradually come down, don't decline sufficiently, so that you are too activated when it comes to bedtime. You could try the usual bedtime hygiene things, you know routine, dimming lights gradually before you plan to sleep, not watching TV or exercising for 2 hrs before sleep etc. etc.. But if you actully don't feel tired in the evening because your body hasn't realised it is night time, then try the light, too.

    Recent blog post: Light and placebo effects

    ReplyDelete
  8. Living here in australia sunshine hours are the least of our concerns. I sleep well :-) (mostly)

    PS you've been busy since my last visit. I like your renovations, though I do miss your cherries.

    Recent blog post: What is it?

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  9. I feel like making a cheap joke about cherries.. Let's see if I can fit them back in somewhere, I did feel quite particular about them myself.

    Recent blog post: Light and placebo effects

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  10. Does it make you lose weight? If so I need to get me a few of them!

    Recent blog post: Requested Erotica, Three Way Roughness

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  11. Well.. It makes you less tired so maybe you eat less to stay awake and do more exercise cause you have more energy..

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