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Dawn's early light

Jim Boxberger Jr.
Posted 11/11/22

Did you already spend that extra hour of sleep you got back last weekend? Many of you are probably still looking for that extra hour and really you are just taking back the hour you gave away in the …

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Garden Guru

Dawn's early light


Did you already spend that extra hour of sleep you got back last weekend? Many of you are probably still looking for that extra hour and really you are just taking back the hour you gave away in the spring. Time is an elusive creature that we can never seem to get enough of and now the days are getting shorter than ever or so it seems. But the day is still twenty-four hours long, the only thing that has changed is the amount of daylight.

The light is what we, like all in nature, need. Take a look at bears, this time of the year they are getting ready to slumber in their dens until longer days reappear in the spring. Chipmunks are busy robbing our birdfeeders to store enough seed for the coming long winter. Of course they forget where they stashed their seeds and in the spring we have sunflowers growing everywhere.

We don't hibernate for the winter, we have work to do or school to go to, but many people due suffer from the effects of shorter daylight hours. Mild cases of this have been deemed "seasonal depression" or "seasonal affective disorder (SAD)". Symptoms of SAD may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, nausea, tendency to oversleep and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain, similar to the way bears fatten up for the winter ahead. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. Treatments for seasonal affective disorder include light therapy, medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin, the easiest and safest of which is simple light therapy.

For those of you who own chickens and want eggs in the winter, you have been using light therapy all along. You see, most chickens need a minimum of twelve hours of daylight to produce eggs, in the winter when daylight is shortened, chickens would normally stop laying eggs, but when supplimental light is added they will continue to lay. The trick is to have lights come on early in the morning, but let them get ready to nest with the natural sunset. Commercial egg producers don't even have windows in their coops as they control the amount of light all year long.

Brightening your day can brighten your spirits as well, we all feel better on a bright sunny day, feeling the rays of sunshine brush upon our skin. This is why many people vacation in Florida during the winter. What do you do when you want to start seedlings indoors in February? You put them under a grow bulb.

I'm oversimplifing a bit, but that same principal can be applied to us as well. I run a business and one of the first rules in retail is to always have a well lit store, because bright light puts customers in a better mood and happy customers make for good business. Also using different color temperature light bulbs can help too. The light spectrum is measured in degrees Kelvin and different degrees produce different light spectrums. Just ask anyone who has reptiles as they are very light sensitive and have to have certain light spectrums to survive.

We can do this too in our own homes. LED bulbs come in many different light spectrums as well as wattages, so you can have some rooms a different light spectrum than others. Most of us won't even notice the difference. In our showroom we have two different light spectrum bulbs in our ceiling light fixtures. If you look at them side by side, one has a blue tint and the other has a pink tint. Both bulbs give off the same lumins (amount of light), but they are different degrees Kelvin and that is why they have the tints to them.

The days are getting shorter so brighten them up a bit by changing some bulbs in your house and feel better about the winter to come.


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