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    Tech Support: How To Fight the Winter SADs Without Those Dorky Lamps

    Written by

    Michelle Lhooq

    There’s something cartoonishly bleak about using an LED lamp to combat feeling mopey during the winter season. One imagines a poor schmuck struggling to get out of bed, turning on the switch of his frigid lamp, and blinking wearily into its sun-like incandescence for up to thirty minutes. Ugh.

    Yet a whopping number of Americans transform into head-hanging Eeyores around this time of year: ten to twenty percent of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and its milder cousin, "the winter blues." Weirdly, this disorder affects women far more commonly than men, with “young people” in their 20s and 30s coming in second.

    So if—like me—you’ve been dragging yourself to work, stuffing your face with pasta and sobbing through Anne Hathaway’s facial contortions in Les Miserables, chances are that you’re really just suffering from SAD. Cheer up, because there are a few brilliant ways to fight it without putting a lamp in your face.

    Wearing These Weird Glasses At Night

    These haute-couture glasses help you sleep better at night by decreasing exposure to blue wavelengths.

    Watching Downton Abbey before bedtime might not be such a good idea. Not just because, you know, season four is probably going to suck or whatever; increased exposure to artificial-light-emitting electronics—such as our laptops—has been proven to disrupt our bodies’ production of melatonin: a hormone essential to getting us to sleep. To the rescue: these extremely fashionable glasses, made by Photonic Developments, which claim to block blue wavelengths, the type of light most responsible for melatonin suppression. Put ‘em on at night, and proceed to guilt free late-night TV watching.

    Absorbing Light…Through Your Ears

    Like SAD lamps for your ears.

    These Valkee earbuds do the exact same thing as SAD lamps… but rather than absorbing light through your retinas, your ears will be doing all the work. Each pair, which costs about $240, works by shining light through your ear canal directly onto your brain. And most conveniently, they only need to be used for 8-12 minutes… meaning you’ll still have time during your morning commute to listen to actual music that makes you happy.

    Chilling In Front of Niagara Falls

    Negative air ions are odorless, invisible molecules that stimulate good vibes (via)

    Beyond, you know, lots of exposed cleavage and free concerts, there’s a scientific reason why you’re happier during the summer: the air around you is more charged with negative ions. These negative ions have been proven to increase levels of serotonin, which helps to uplift your mood. Thus, your plan: hang out near waterfalls, beaches and mountains as often as you can. These natural environments happen to be full of negatively charged ions, and they’re probably a lot more fun than standing in front of a million electronic air purifiers.

    Eating More Reindeer

    This little kid in Siberia is eating reindeer meat straight from a carcass. And he’s probably delirious with glee (via)

    You’ve heard that your Thanksgiving turkey contains high levels of L-trytophan, an essential amino acid that spikes levels serotonin and melatonin—thus turning you into a sleepy ball of happiness. And while this theory turns out to be just a myth—turkey contains as much tryptophan as chicken—other types of meat, like reindeer and pork chops, actually do hold high levels of the amino acid. Rudolph sandwich, anyone?

    Taking Club-Kid-Approved Vitamins

    These kids always know exactly how to combat depression (via)

    My ecstasy-adoring friends swear by a nutritional supplement called 5-HTP, which you can buy over-the-counter at any health food store. Apparently, taking these supplements before gorging on MDMA helps to prevent a post-rave hangover. The same idea applies to S.A.D. sufferers, as 5-HTP is essentially a precursor that can be converted into serotonin. Clinical studies on this one are spotty though, and club kids aren’t the most reliable sources, so use this supplement with a pinch of proverbial salt. That said, don't be too worried: anxiety is not going to help your SAD.


    Previously on Tech Support:

    How to Make Your Breath Smell Nice in the Future