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SunSprite Blog

A Review of Circadian Rhythm and Its far-Reaching Effects in Mental Health from the New York Times

It’s easy to forget the effect of a circadian rhythm that is ‘out of whack’ unless it is explained periodically.

Why Getting Bright Light is Important for People in College

As a college student, I can attest that it is very difficult to juggle academics, social life, and extracurricular activities. Many students such as myself stress under this weight and try to manage their schedules by sacrificing sleep and skipping exercise.

Outdoor Living: The Best Way to Set your Body’s Clock!

The latest study from Professor Kenneth Wright in Colorado suggests that if we want to correct our jet lagged selves from daily sluggishness, we should go camping for a week. The natural light made people go to sleep an average of two hours earlier and wake up with the dawn.

Don’t Let the Winter Blues Get You Down: How to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

If you tend to feel tired, sluggish, and sad during the winter months, you’re not alone. Researchers estimate that between 10 and 20 percent of people in the U.S. report increased fatigue, anxiety, and depression in the winter , when there are fewer hours of sunlight.

Set Your Clocks Back! And Get Some morning Light.

A surprising new study has just emerged from Denmark in time to make us just a little more vigilant about depression over the next few weeks. The researchers found a rise in the number of hospital admissions for depression following the shift from daylight savings time to standard time.

Bright Light and Viagra

In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Here Comes the Darkness Again

We are here at SunSprite ready to arm you with your wearable light trackers so you won’t have to let the darkness depress you too much.

The Coming of the Dark Season

The bleak darkness sneaks up on us here in the East. The last beautiful Fall days seem like they’re going to last forever but suddenly just when it’s too gorgeous for words, you notice that the darkness is here at 5 PM. And getting up in the morning is none too cheerful either.

Your Phone Can Save Your Life

As a startup leveraging wearable tech to improve health, we’re always on the lookout for others who share our mission and outlook. The author David Kerrigan is one of those people, as he illustrates with his new book,

Why Would Someone Want a SunSprite?

I have worn my trusty SunSprite for more than a year now on most days except an occasional very dark day during which I had no time to use my light box. Now it’s time to evaluate what it did for me, although admittedly I have a bias.

Triple-Threat Antidepressant: A Morning Walk with a Friend

Quick quiz: what are the three most powerful ways to adjust our daily lives to reduce depression?

Answer: Get morning bright light, exercise, and stay connected with friends and family.

Severe Depression? Add bright light!

Bright light for depression can sometimes sound like “treatment lite.” Maybe good for winter blues but not for serious depression.

That’s why a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is so important.

How to Treat Depression Without Medication

Many people turn up in our offices wishing that they didn’t have to go on meds but suspecting that they will have to. By the time they decide to see us, they have already spent several weeks feeling hopeless and sleep-deprived, and they’ve lost their normal enjoyment in every day life.

SunSprite and 4 Other Unexpected Solar-Powered Gadgets

SunSprite is the first solar-powered wearable device. So when you’re getting the light you need, your SunSprite is getting the light it needs to charge up.

Here are four other gadgets—from camping equipment to stylish bookbags—that are sure to recharge your life (and not let that glorious sunlight go to waste).

GoodLux Technology Announces Partnership with The SunBox Company

Boston, Mass., April 28, 2015 – GoodLux Technology, the provider of the SunSprite light therapy engagement solution for the treatment of depression, and The SunBox Company, a manufacturer of white light therapy lamps, announced today a co-marketing partnership providing patients and providers with the SunSprite/SunBox bundle. The bundle, consisting of the SunSprite light monitor and any SunBox product provides a one-stop solution for patients using bright light therapy for depression, winter blues or SAD.

GoodLux Announces Android App for Its SunSprite Solution

Boston, Mass., March 29, 2015 – GoodLux Technology, the provider of the SunSprite light therapy engagement solution for treatment of depression, announced today the availability of its Android app in the Google Play store. By providing tangible, historic data about collected bright light, the SunSprite Solution empowers clinicians and patients to manage depression with bright light therapy (BLT), leading to a triple-aim effect of better patient experience, improved population health and reduced cost.

SunSprite Picks Misfit for Google Wearables Challenge

We believe in patient-centered care, and empowering each SunSprite user is a major part of this. Giving actionable information and data to our users, and putting them in control of their decisions, is the core of our mission.

SunSprite Selects Validic to Integrate Light Data into Providers’ Apps

Boston, Mass., March 4, 2015 – GoodLux Technology, the provider of the SunSprite light engagement solution for treatment of depression, announced today it has selected Validic, the leading cloud-based, digital health platform for integration of SunSprite-collected bright light data into various software platforms. SunSprite’s capacity to measure bright light exposure impacts the clinicians’ and patients’ ability to manage depression, leading to a triple-aim effect of better patient experience, improved population health and reduced cost.

Unlocking Triple Aim Care: Webinar Download

SunSprite and local healthcare powerhouse iGetBetter co-hosted the fourth installment in a Triple Aim Care webinar series: “Reducing Cost in ACOs: Managing Depression with Comorbid Conditions” on Thursday, February 12th.

Can Managing Depression with Comorbid Conditions Save Cost for Your ACO?

SunSprite CEO Ed Likovich will be a special guest on the 4th episode of iGetBetter’s “Triple-Aim Care Transition” Webinar Series! He will be discussing how measuring light for bright light therapy can have impact on depression and other comorbidities.

iGetBetter and GoodLux Technology Tackle Comorbidity of Depression with Chronic Conditions

Sudbury, Mass., and Boston, Mass., January 21, 2015 – iGetBetter, Inc., a supplier of post-acute care transition solutions, and GoodLux Technology, a provider of a light management solution for treatment of depression, announced today they will partner to develop a solution for patients battling depression by creating the SunSprite Care Plan that can be combined with the appropriate iGetBetter care plan for patients with chronic diseases.

Light Tracking Solution Enables Self-Monitoring to Improve Personal and Population Health

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED TODAY
GoodLux Technology, creator of the SunSprite solution that tracks a person’s bright light intake, announced today at the Digital Health Summit at CES that its first 1,000 light trackers sold have encouraged 82% of users to improve their daily habits.

United Nations Has Declared 2015 the "International Year of Light"

We know what the future holds.

3D printing will explode the DIY market, charity will move into the mobile gaming space, and most excitingly for us, light technologies will be made a global priority.

9 Ways a Lack of Sun is Killing You

How is a lack of sun killing you? Let us count the ways…

Could Jet Lag Make You Obese?

Here’s a fascinating new study, published last week in the journal Cell. When you get off a plane after a long flight, jet lag doesn’t just make you “feel” bad. It actually upsets the microbes in your gut.

Does Your Work Space Give You Enough Light?

A very recent study out of Northwestern Medical School’s Department of Neurology and The School of Architecture at University of Chicago at Urbana proved that a window in your office or work space can make a world of difference. A study of 49 people with approximately half working with windows and half without showed that workers with windows slept an average of 46 more minutes at night,

Sunshine and Suicide

A new study published this week in JAMA Psychiatry and quickly picked up by both Time and Newsweek delivers a simple message in its title: “Direct Effect of Sunshine on Suicide.” It’s an important study revealing, once again, the powerful role that light plays in our lives.

I Had No Idea I Was Light Deprived!

Here I am, a member of the SunSprite team trying to make people recognize that we all need light. When it was August, I tried my SunSprite several days in a row, and found I wasn’t getting quite 100%. So I started having my breakfast in a sunny window, and walking more in the early morning. Soon I was racking up some 100% days and feeling more cheerful.

Come September, imagine my dismay when my SunSprite has been telling me lately that even when I am sitting in a sunny window or on my porch for a few minutes here and there, I am not getting enough light

Behind the Scenes: SunSprite Production Testing

The other day, I caught myself marveling at a tape dispenser. Now that I am seeing this side of manufacturing, I have a lot more appreciation for how much work must have gone into designing and manufacturing even the simplest products.

We’ve been testing SunSprite continuously for months, but as we start mass production, things are really ramping up. Here are some highlights from behind the scenes.

What Cavemen and Farmers Have in Common

Finally, doctors are “prescribing” time outdoors again. For years, as this article in Slate mentions, doctors were sending patients to beautiful spots in rural areas as therapy for both infectious and emotional disorders.

Think of Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (a sanatorium for tubercular patients), or various

Lux is the New YOLO

I don’t mean to brag, but I know the meaning of a lot of words. Below are some examples.

  • Sun: [noun] The bright thing in the sky that helps me see the ground.
  • Light: [noun] The thing the bright thing emits.
  • Sky: [noun] The big blue thing that houses the big bright thing.

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But “lux” is not a term that comes up often. Or at least, not until the last few months.

Nicotine is Addictive. And so is the Sun.

It’s an idea that emerged about a decade ago. Sunbathers are addicts. Tanning is a true addiction. The idea got a big boost last week with a paper published in Cell offering evidence of a pathway for tanning addiction.

How Mass Media is Embracing Sunlight

Last week, a potential investor challenged us with a question. “I know about the importance of light for health, but hardly anybody else does. Where’s your market?”

We told him light and health is not only an exciting and rapidly growing area of research. It’s also an area

Play in the Light, Preserve Your Sight

A recent article in the magazine The Atlantic, “Nearsightedness and the Indoor Life”, lays out the evidence for a connection between the increasing frequency of myopia (nearsightedness) and a life lived indoors. The increase is dramatic. The prevalence of myopia in the U.S. increased 66%

Weight Control and Light: Starting in Siberia

The cycle of light and darkness affects our metabolism and our digestion. So you’d expect it to have some role in dieting and weight loss too.

For years, dieters have been taught that when you eat matters.

Huffington Redefines Success!

A new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder has arrived from the famous author and pundit, Arianna Huffington. In the beginning of the book, she was confident that she fit everyone’s typical notions of success, but then she collapsed from exhaustion and cut her cheek on a desk.

Bright Light vs. Prozac

Ten years ago, the American Psychiatric Association Council on Research convened a work group to “use the principles of evidence-based medicine to examine the efficacy of light therapy.” Their conclusion was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry the following year:

Celebrate Daylight Savings Time with Better Sleep

With all our focus on the importance of bright light to “wake up your brain,” we must not forget how important it is to dim down the lights to fall asleep naturally. We can get a bit addicted to the excitement that bright light gives us (and to our having just a little more time to do the things we enjoy), so we often leave our lights on late into the night and then expect ourselves to fall asleep “on a dime” when we’re finally ready.

I Quit Harvard to Play in the Sun

I’ve been at Harvard nearly half my life. Through undergrad, a stint as a lab tech, graduate school, a post-doc, and then two years as research staff. Almost all of it in the same building. I slept in the lab one summer, and I proposed to my wife in the lab using a laser as a prop.

Candelit Dinners: Better for Digestion

At a recent SunSprite team meeting, we were talking about light and digestion. Is there a connection? As a psychiatrist, I realized I wasn’t sure. It’s not a question I’d ever asked. So I looked. Here’s what I found.

The Connection Between Love and Light

Last week, after an interview for a Valentine’s Day TV show about love, the reporter gave us a puzzled look when we starting telling her about SunSprite. The idea excited her, but she wanted to know how two psychiatrists who wrote books about marriage, loneliness, and social connections had come up with an idea

Aging is Better in the Sun

We know that our population is aging fast. And we know that we are seeing more articles about impaired cognition than we want to. We, who are a bit older, have to keep from panicking

Behind the Scenes: SunSprite Beta

Yesterday, after fighting its way through the Polar Vortex (Atlanta is a FedEx hub), our first Beta SunSprite finally arrived. Above is a picture of it sitting wrapped in rubber bands in our bright light flood exposure test setup. The testing continues…

The Worrisome Disappearance of Recess

Over the last 25 years, schools and principals have been cutting recess for elementary school children hoping that with more time in the classroom, children would be able to learn more, and we could make up for their educational deficits with more indoor chair time. Programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have made clear

Sleep Better with One Easy Computer Trick

The “secret” to alert, energetic days and restful nights is not just morning light; we also need darkness at night. Even low levels of light before (or during) sleep will delay and reduce the melatonin rise that tells our bodies it’s bedtime. (Of course, too much darkness can also be a problem, resulting in city’s putting mirrors on top of mountains – more on that in a separate blog post.)

Dark nights began to disappear from the world when we started to electrify

Why We Need Daylight to Set our Circadian Clocks

In this 4-minute video, Hank on Sci Show (who is new to me, but not to regular Sci Show watchers) explains — at a breathtaking pace (but it seems he doesn’t need to take breaths) — the importance of setting our internal clocks using light.

His talk is funny, dense with information, and so fast

Behind the Scenes: Designing SunSprite’s Packaging

We’re getting ready to launch in a month, and our whole team is hard at work. We don’t want to keep all the fun to ourselves, so here’s a quick behind-the-scenes glimpse of our packaging design.

David and I scribbled notes on this mock-up when we met at a local café. We wrote the rest

Giant Mirrors on Giant Mountains

Two towns that live in the shadow of nearby mountains during winter months have erected mirrors to steer sunlight down into the town center. The first to do this was a village in Italy named Viganella. The second was the Norwegian town of Rjukan. Both projects are described in this article.

New Year’s Resolutions: Why We Love to Start Over

The great thing about Americans is that we believe we can have do-overs. That’s why we have remedies for hard times like every kind of therapy, or bankruptcy, or churches that let us start all over again. And New Year’s Resolutions! It is a lovely country that lets almost everyone have a second

Everyday Jet Lag: Did You Know You Have a Chronotype?

Social jet lag is a hot topic these days. This article from The New York Times adds the concept of chronotype, which refers to our personal circadian rhythm—it’s what makes some of us morning-loving “larks” and others night-loving “owls.”

And it reminds us that sunlight is our best hope when our boss thinks our day

How We Give Ourselves Jet Lag Every Day Without Stepping on a Plane

“On a typical workday morning, if you’re like most people, you don’t wake up naturally.”

That’s how Maria Konnikova begins a wonderful article about sleep in The New Yorker. We mentioned it in our previous post and hope you’ll take a look at it. It’s a great introduction to the concept of “social jetlag,” something

The Dawn of SunSprite: How We Created the First Personal Light Coach

The story of SunSprite begins, of all places, on a road trip. It was the summer of 2011, and we were finally on vacation. The countryside was gorgeous. The weather was spectacular— brilliant sun alternating with torrential rains. Yet those magnificent surroundings could not distract us from worrying about our patients (we’re Harvard psychiatrists). Or keep