Dawn Simulator Timer & Little Blue Light - Best of Both Worlds?
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Q:  I noticed on your site you are an advocate for both dawn simulators, and blue lights.  Would combining a dawn simulator timer with a "little blue light" be the best of both worlds?

Dear Stacy --

For some people, yes, I think so. There is no direct research on this question. Several studies have shown that dawn simulators can be effective as a form of light therapy for seasonal mood problems.

As you have learned, I think the big advantage of the dawn simulators is that the "treatment" is complete by the time you wake up. No sitting around in front of the light box required. However, for some people this would not be sufficient. They might require the light box in addition.

Finally, some people have trouble getting up in the morning and getting moving, even to the point of getting their light box turned on and seated in front of it. Sometimes, for these people, the dawn simulator provides a "kick-start" that can get them just to the point where they can get the light box going.

The other thing I like so much about the dawn simulator is that it is almost certain to be harmless. Now that there is a relatively cheap one, about $30 including shipping (see my
page on dawn simulators; it's right up at the top), which is relatively easy to use as well, I think just trying this option in the hope that it might replace the use of the light box is worth it for many people. For some, only the light will do, and the dawn simulator will add nothing. For them, they can probably turn around and sell the dawn simulator to a neighbor or friend for what they paid for it, because in my experience many people who do not have a mood problem in the winter still enjoy waking up to a room that is already light. In other words, I think nearly anyone would enjoy using this device, at least at latitudes higher than San Francisco, or so.

Dr. Phelps


Published July, 2007

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