Last Thursday in class we took our first pop quiz on an article that summarized an extremely thought-provoking study. As we can all probably remember, the TIME Magazine article described a depression study done on hamsters. When the hamsters were exposed to light at night, they suffered changes to their hippocampus. The decrease in melatonin resulting from this could be a cause for depression (Kluger).
Our last question on the quiz asked if rational people should shut the blinds based on the experiment. As we went over the quiz in class, we deduced that a rational person should follow this suggestion, because as Andrew said, making the small sacrifice of shutting off the lights every night is better than the horrible depression that could eventually arise from keeping them on.
But what if there was a light that, when kept on at night, actually improved our health? SC200, it exists. On Monday night, I received an unexpected package in the mail from my mom’s best friend, Karen. Karen is extremely notorious for sending me gifts that some would consider “Zen” while others label “crunchy.” This gift was no exception. I tore open the package and came face to face with…drum roll please…this:
A chunky, heavy, light up rock. The proper name: a Himalayan Salt Lamp. Basically, these lamps are oversized slabs of Himalayan Salt surrounding a light bulb (WellnessMama). I know; it didn’t really seem like anything special to me either. But these lamps do so much more than merely decorate your most frequented household room! In fact, here is a list of the top ten reasons to purchase one.
The importance behind the Himalayan Salt Lamp is its natural ability to produce negative ions. Negative ions and positive ions both exist in the natural world, but are created by completely opposite things. Electronic devices and machinery give off positive ions, while natural occurrences like rainstorms, lightning, and sunlight produce negative ions. Negative ions cancel out positive ions, purifying the air of the toxins that electronic devices tend to give off (WellnessMama).
Not only do the Himalayan Salt Lamps purge the air of its electronic toxins, but they also clean mold, dust, and bacteria (all of which consist of positive ions) from the air. All of these negative ions at work naturally increase the flow of blood and oxygen to our brains—aiding us in our sleep patterns and concentration abilities (Taylor).
So this brings us back to the debate of whether or not to sleep with this light on. Personally, my roommate and I have kept our Salt Lamp on every night since Monday; consequently, we’ve both noted slight improvements in our sleep patterns, and our overall abilities to relax and breathe in the room. While it is too soon to tell whether or not this will have a depressing affect on us in the long run (or whether we will actually benefit fully from the lamp), we both agree that the dim orange glow is more soothing than sad. Sorry to say Charlie Brown, but sometimes getting a rock isn’t always a bad thing.
Kluger, Jeffery. “Depressed? Kill All the Lights.” TIME 29 Nov. 2010: n. pag. Print.