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SAIT pilot project combats negative impact of long winters on student mental health
Since January, a new Bright Light Station has been installed in the Reg Erhardt Library as a pilot project to help SAIT students feel more energized, alert and positive.
The simple space includes two comfortable chairs, a work desk, and a desk lamp with 10,000 lux full-spectrum light bulbs with a UV filter. “It acts as a kind of sunlight replacement, minus the UV rays,” says Marta Edgar, Educational Counsellor with the SAIT Student Development and Counselling Centre. “The brightness and full spectrum quality of the light provide the benefit.”
Edgar says research supports the beneficial effects of such lights on mood and alertness, and says they are increasingly common in treating problems such as seasonal affective disorder, insomnia, jet lag, and sleep disruption caused by shift work.
Get me through the winter
“Many students are on campus working on projects or preparing for exams very early and very late in the day,” Edgar says. “When they have no opportunities to go outside and spend time in the sunshine, this kind of lamp can make a big difference — and most students would not be able to afford buying one.
“I still recommend going outside, but this Bright Light Station can be a helpful aid, especially during winter months.”