UNI light lounge may be cure to winter woes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI light lounge may be cure to winter woes

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(KWWL) -

Beating the winter blues may mean taking a trip to the University of Northern Iowa's light lounge for light therapy. 

Here in Eastern Iowa, we've sure had our fair share of brutal winter days. Shorter days mean less sunlight. 

The light lounge inside Sabin Hall may help combat your winter blues. The atrium features a skylight that allows daylight to filter in, and the light lounge provides natural white light to help those experiencing seasonal affective disorder. 

UNI Interior Design professor Gowri Gulwadi helped in designing the light lounge inside Sabin hall.

"There's a relationship between our exposure to light and our levels of melatonin which helps us sleep and wake up," said Gulwadi. "It impacts mood and alertness."

Dreary winter days cause you to feel like you're drowning in the dead of winter, because of the limited sunlight. Students at UNI have started to take notice, using Sabin Halls atrium as a library.  

"It just makes you in a better mood in a brighter place, compared to a darker place," said UNI senior Courtney Killam. "It's hard doing homework, so if you're in a place like this it makes it easier I guess."

Gulwadi says research to light therapy is limited, but the light lounge at UNI has potential. 

"Not just awareness but also to encourage collaboration between researchers, faculty, and students to explore this issue more and to really come up with a well designed research study that could explore this more," said Gulwadi.  

Gulwadi also says there's research shows too much light can be harmful. Light coming from your phone or laptop too late into the night, can have a negative affect on those melatonin levels disturbing your sleeping pattern. 

The light lounge is modeled after the Light Cafes of Scandinavia as well as the Dana Center Light Lounge at the Science Museum in the UK. 

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