January


January Poster

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1/1 New Years Email

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Subject Line: Boost Your New Years Resolution

Body Text: Is your New Years Resolution to lose weight, but you find yourself hungry all day or craving high caloric foods? It could be because you've been skimping on sleep.
 
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that sleep deprivation can cause hormonal disturbances that affect body weight. During sleep, the body works hard to control two hormones that are key regulators of hunger and appetite: leptin and ghrelin. When you are sleep deprived, these hormones do not have a chance to return to their optimum levels.
 
Your brain tells you you're hungry, even though you don't actually need food. Furthermore, lack of sleep has been shown to lead to increased snacking and cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-caloric foods. 
 
According to the National Sleep Foundation, not sleeping enough can cause people to consume an average of 559 extra calories a day. 

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January Optional Email

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Subject Line: Can't Sleep? Think Positive!

Body Text: Over time our brain can form habits that are associated with negative thoughts or experiences with our bedroom. Feeling miserable, frustrated or anxious in your bedroom trains your brain that it is a place to be avoided or feared. 

It's important to work to establish and reinforce only positive experiences or associations with your bedroom and sleep. As much as possible, keep outside activities like bills, homework, scary movies, and highly emotional conversations from entering your bedroom.

Want to learn more? Link to the article library from the Sleep University tile on the ProjectZ dashboard and check out the article, Sleep? Think Positive! 

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February


February Poster

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2/14 Valentines Day

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Subject Line: Sleep & Sex

Body Text: The cardinal rule of good sleep hygiene: The bed is for sleep and sex only. Unfortunately if you're not getting enough sleep, the chances are that your sex life is suffering too.

Research has shown that lack of sleep, even in the short term, leads to significantly decreased testosterone levels for men. A similar effect on libido has also been found in women. Research also suggests that lack of sleep can negatively impact our reproductive hormones, thus having an negative impact on our fertility levels. 

To learn more about what happens while you were sleeping, check out the "Short Term Consequences of Sleep Deprivation" article in the Sleep University...

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Febraury Optional email

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Subject Line: While You Are Sleeping

Body Text: Although a sleeping person may appear inactive, some functions of the brain and body are more active while we sleep than when we're awake. During sleep, we cycle between four stages of sleep. One stage is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and the other three stages are NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep.

Throughout the four stages our tissues grow and repair, hormones are released, blood supply to our muscles increases, memories are formed and consolidated, and energy is restored. During REM sleep, our eyes dart back and forth, often accompanied by dreams. 

Given how many critical processes take place during sleep, it is important you treat sleep as a priority! 

To learn more about what happens while you were sleeping, check out the "While You Are Sleeping" article in the Sleep University...

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March


Daylight Savings Email

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Subject Line: Spring Forward - Daylight Savings

Body Text: Your body works to constantly coordinate it's "biologic clock" with the outside world. When the time changes, you are suddenly "out of sync" with the world. Here are a few tips to help re-synchronize your biologic clock as we approach the start of Daylight Savings Time:

See the light - try to get exposure to early morning natural light soon after awakening. Light is the most important signal to your brain that it is time to be alert and start your day. Early morning light exposure, particularly during this next week, will speed your adaptation to the new time.

Beginning today, try to go to sleep 15-30 min earlier and wake up 15-30 min earlier in the morning. This will allow you to more gradually adjust to the new time.

Shift meal times toward the new time schedule. For example, if you normally eat dinner at 6 pm, consider shifting diner time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to 5:30. That way, once the time has switched you will only be 30 minutes off your usual schedule instead of one hour. Meal times are another important clue the body uses to "set" the biologic clock.

Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible during this adaptation period. Both alcohol and caffeine interrupt sleep and further sleep deprive you at a time when you are already losing an hour of valuable sleep.

Drive carefully. Traffic accidents go up around daylight savings time as people deal with the lack of sleep!

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March Optional Email

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Subject Line: Caffeine & Sleep

Body Text: Did you know that it can take up to 15 minutes for caffeine, a stimulant drug, to enter the bloodstream and six hours later approximately half of it is still in your system?

Furthermore, caffeine in the form of drinks or food can interrupt your sleep cycle by making it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. Therefore, you should plan your caffeine consumption accordingly around your bedtime. Caffeine can’t replace your body’s need for sleep, but it can temporarily make you feel more alert because caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in your brain. Caffeine can also increase adrenaline production.

Things like coffee, caffeinated teas, sodas, energy drinks, and chocolate are stimulants and should certainly be avoided for at least the 4 hours leading up to bedtime. If you are having a particularly hard time falling asleep most nights, your caffeine consumption should end by lunchtime. For more information, check out the article, "Workable Solutions to Restrict Caffeine for Better Sleep" in the ProjectZ Sleep University.

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April


4/1 april fools day

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Subject Line: Don't Let These Sleep Myth's Fool You

Body Text: Everyone sleeps, so everyone has a favorite theory about how sleep works. Call it unfounded folk wisdom, misinformation, or the fibs we tell ourselves to feel better about not sleeping – it all adds up to potential health problems if we don’t separate the fact from the fiction.

These days, it’s almost a bragging point to say that you can get by on four hours of sleep. Some people might feel like they’re gaming the system by operating on energy drinks and coffee all day, but in fact you can’t trick your body into sleeping less and remaining healthy. What’s actually happening is that sleep-deprived people become less able to accurately determine how sleepy they are; it’s comparable to someone saying they feel fine to drive after having a few beers. Meanwhile, your body’s sensitive systems are headed for illness and disease.

Learn which sleep myths to ignore so that you can sleep better at night. For more information, check out the article, "Sleep Myths Debunked" in the ProjectZ Sleep University. 

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April optional email

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Subject Line: Messy Bed, Messy Head

Body Text: Having a super-cluttered bedroom may affect how well you sleep, according to a study presented at the 2015 SLEEP conference. The author said, "It seemed like even people without a hoarding disorder had what we call a dose response-meaning the more clutter you had, the more likely you were to have a sleep disorder." 

Take a look around your bedroom and notice what items you may have scattered around the room including laundry baskets, digital devices, and random clutter. While you may feel accustomed to your bedroom mess on a conscious level, your brain may interpret it unconsciously as a chore or task that needs to be completed. This can lead to stress which then can lead to poor quality sleep. 

For tips on how to improve sleep hygiene around the bedroom, sign in to ProjectZ and read the article Cut the Clutter, Sleep Better Tonight.

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May


5/14 Mother's Day

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Subject Line: Happy Mother's Day from ProjectZ!

Body Text: Pregnancy is an exciting and joyful time for many expecting parents, but it can also impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Mom's and Dad's can have a rough 9 months leading up to the birth of a child. Maybe it is too late for you to act on this advice but I'm sure you can find someone to share these tips with!

When pregnant, stick with a consistent sleep schedule to encourage your body to sleep throughout the night and remain alert during the day. Daytime naps might occasionally feel necessary, but cut back if they interfere with your nighttime sleep. Regular exercise (under your doctor’s supervision, of course) can also help you sleep better. Try to sleep on your left side for optimal blood and nutrient flow to your baby. It’s better not to sleep on your back during your pregnancy. Drink plenty of water during the day, but taper off during the evening hours so that you don’t need to use the bathroom throughout the night. Try installing a nightlight rather than switching on a bright light during bathroom visits so that you remain drowsy enough to fall right back to sleep. Meditating, gentle walks, or other pleasurable activities can help you feel less stressed.

For tips on how to improve sleep while pregnant, sign in to ProjectZ and read the article "Pregnancy and Sleep."

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May optional email

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Subject Line: Power Down to Power Up

Body Text: Did you know that the blue light emitting from your electronic devices can disrupt your sleep if you are using these devices before bed? This is because the light detected from your devices by your eyes sends messages to your brain that it is still daytime. Therefore your brain does not release the hormone melatonin, which is a signal for your brain to enter into "sleep mode". 

ProjectZ recommends powering down all devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, game consoles, and desktop computers) at least one hour before bedtime to get better sleep.  
 
Sound like too much of a challenge? If you must use your electronic devices before bed, look for an online application designed to alter the blue light on your device (some devices already have this function built-in). The other work around is to purchase a pair of inexpensive blue blocker glasses that have special yellow-orange colored lenses. The lenses work to block out the stimulating effects of the blue light on your brain. 

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June


6/20 First Day of Summer

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Subject Line: Get Your Sweat On For Better Sleep

Body Text: When it comes to physical exercise, lack of sleep can impact your strength, speed, reaction time, muscle recovery, chance of injury, focus, and teamwork.

On the flip side, exercise not only can improve your quantity of sleep, but also the quality of your sleep.

A study by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of medicine indicated that regular exercise can have a dramatic impact on sleep and added as much as 1.25 hours per night. Furthermore, exercise can also help strengthen circadian rhythms to keep you alert during the day and bring on sleepiness at night. 

For tips on how to optimize your exercise routine for better sleep, visit the Sleep University, found on the ProjectZ dashboard, and check out the article: “Get your sweat on for better sleep”.

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June optional email

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Subject Line: Eyes off the clock!

Body Text: Did you know that checking what time it is throughout the night can worsen the quality of your sleep and actually become a habit? 

Waking up during the night, looking at the clock and calculating how much time until you wake, is a habit worth kicking.  Clock checking can lead to worry and anxiety around sleep.  These behaviors will lead to more fragmented sleep which can leave you feeling more tired and less rested in the morning. 
 
The good news is once you've broken free of the habit of checking the time, you will be able to experience sleep periods that are not interrupted by the clock. You will also feel less stressed about being in bed so you can relax and fall asleep. 
 
What can you do tonight? Remove the clock from the bedroom, turn it around, or cover it. This works for your cell phone too! We spend so much 'time' watching the clock during the day, why not give yourself a break at night.

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July


Summertime Email

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Subject Line: How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Body Text: The amount of sleep needed to function on a daily basis varies by individual. While there are individuals who are genetically short sleepers, where they require only 4-5 hours and do so without evidence of lacking cognitive function or coordination, this only represents 1-5% of the population. However, the majority of people need between 7-9 hours of sleep. 

The key is to not stress about how much sleep you are not getting. Rather, focus on how much sleep you need to feel good the next day. If you are getting 7 hours of sleep on average and you are able to do the things you enjoy without any significant impairment, this would suggest you are getting enough sleep at night. As long as you feel rested when the day begins, try not to worry about the exact number of hours of sleep you are accumulating. 

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July optional Email

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Subject Line: Overcoming Sleep Debt

Body Text: It is common for people to not get enough sleep during the week and then attempt to make up for it on the weekend. Consistently not sleeping enough adds up over time and has detrimental short and long term effects on your mind and body. While trying to fully pay off that debt each weekend may sound like a good idea, it isn’t.

When you sleep in on the weekends and delay your usual wake time, it's as if you are telling your body you are now in a different time zone. This is commonly referred to as "Social Jet Lag". Then, just as you are adapting to your new wake time, your body is forced to wake up earlier on Monday. While sleeping in for no more than one hour on weekends may be okay, it is not the ideal solution.

How can I efficiently pay back my debt?

You can add 30-60 minutes of extra sleep each night during the week. The best solution is to not cut yourself short on sleep during the week and to sleep in no more than 30 minutes on weekends to pay back sleep debt. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule seven days a week can be difficult at first, but is worth it long-term.

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August


Kids back to school email

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Subject Line: Back to School...Teach Your Kids About Sleep

Body Text: As important as sleep is for adults, it is even more critical for children. Studies show that more than 2 out of 3 children have sleep problems and only 15% of teenagers are obtaining the advised amount of sleep. Emphasizing the importance of sleep and good sleep habits to a child helps establish an important foundation for the child to carry through into their adult life. There is an extraordinary amount of physical and mental development that occurs in children, much of which occurs during sleep. Therefore, poor sleep can have a tremendously negative impact on their brain and overall development.

While sleep needs vary across age and individual children there are several techniques and strategies that generally apply across the board. If you suspect your child has a sleep disorder or has a particularly unique set of circumstances that make it difficult for the child to get the appropriate amount of sleep it is imperative that you get involved early on and it is advised that you discuss the sleep issues with their doctor.

For tips on how to optimize your child's sleep routine, visit the Sleep University, found on the ProjectZ dashboard, and check out the article: “Children & Sleep”.

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August Optional Email

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Subject Line: How Can I Improve My Memory?...Sleep!

Body Text: Scientists believe learning and memory involve three steps: acquiring new information, consolidating memories into a stable, storable format in your brain, and being able to recall these learned memories for practical use. You can acquire new information and recall information while you’re awake, but that crucial middle step – consolidating – seems to take place during sleep.

When you are sleep deprived, it’s much more difficult to learn something new. And you can’t learn something, in the long run, without relying on the memories you’ve stored related to the subject.  In fact, some scientists believe that sleeping within a few hours after learning new information can help you remember it better. 

Interested in learning more about this topic? visit the Sleep University, found on the ProjectZ dashboard, and check out the article: "Sleep, Memory and Learning."

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September


Fall Email

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Subject Line: Want To Catch A Cold? Don't Sleep

Body Text: Did you know that lack of sleep can increase your risk of catching a cold? According to one study, participants who got less than seven hours of sleep were 3 times more likely to get a cold compared to those who slept eight hours or more.
 
Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to the decreased production of cytokines proteins, which the body uses to combat infection and inflammation. With a weakened immune system, it's easier to catch a cold and cold symptoms may linger longer. 
 
Need to catch up on some sleep? 

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September optional email

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Subject Line: What’s The Deal With Snoring/Snoring Bed Partners

Body Text: Sleeping with a snorer can take a toll on your health, well-being and can even cause resentment in your relationship. If you have a bed partner whose snoring is making it difficult for you to sleep, remember that snoring is a medical condition, so try not to let your sleepiness turn into anger.

Earplugs, electric fans, or white noise machines can be helpful in blocking distracting noises. A snorer may benefit from sleeping on their side or stomach.

Habitual snorers are at increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA involves a complete or partial blockage of the airway during sleep, and can lead to disrupted sleep and daytime sleepiness. It’s also a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and stroke. 

Ask your bed partner to schedule a consultation with their physician or a sleep medicine physician to have their snoring properly evaluated and treated. It can be life changing!

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October


10/31 Halloween email

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Subject Line: Nightmares: The Scary Effects of Disturbed Sleep

Body Text: Most of us have experienced nightmares – a bad dream that makes us feel fear, terror, distress, or anxiety. It’s not uncommon for kids to have nightmares, but adults have them, too. The rare or occasional nightmare is not usually cause for concern, but regular nightmares often signal that something more serious is at stake. Because nightmares interrupt your regular sleeping cycle, over time they can cause more problematic issues like daytime fatigue, chronic insomnia, or other problems. Talk with your doctor if nightmares have become a common occurrence.

In addition to talking with your doctor, you can take some simple steps at home to get a better night’s rest. Aim to get more physical activity, especially cardiovascular exercise, to feel more tired and sleepy around bedtime. Limit caffeine and alcohol, especially before bedtime. You can also work to reduce stress with feel-good activities, such as stretching or meditating. Avoid disturbing content, such as scary movies, suspenseful novels, or troublesome evening news before climbing into bed.

Interested in learning more about this topic? Visit the Sleep University, found on the ProjectZ dashboard, and check out the article: "Nightmares: The Scary Effects of Disturbed Sleep."

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October optional email

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Subject Line: Driving Sleep Drunk

Body Text: According to the CDC, an estimated 4% of adult drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past month, while 60% report driving while drowsy in the past year. In addition, 20% of all serious car crash injuries are associated with driver sleepiness. 

While we may not realize it, drowsy driving is similar to intoxicated driving, which can slow reaction times and reduce awareness. All of the following situations been shown to have the same impairment equivalent to a BAC of .08, which is considered legally drunk:

6 hours of sleep for 10-12 days straight
4-5 hours of sleep for 7 days straight
1 night without any sleep

Experts say if you start to get sleepy while driving, drink 1-2 cups of coffee and pull over for a short 20-minute nap in a safe place, such as a lighted designated rest stop. This has been shown to increase alertness, but only for short time periods. However, the best countermeasure to drowsy driving is to make it a habit to get enough rest on a daily basis. 

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November


11/5 Daylight savings email

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Subject Line: Fall Back - Daylight Savings

Body Text: As we approach the end of Daylight Savings Time it can be a difficult transition to make. Throughout the year, your body works to constantly coordinate it's "biologic clock" with the outside world. When the time changes, your body finds itself suddenly "out of sync" with the world around it. Here are a few tips to help re-synchronize your biologic clock:

See the light - try to get exposure to early morning natural light soon after awakening. Light is the most important signal to your brain that it is time to be alert and start your day. Early morning light exposure, particularly during this next week, will speed your adaptation to the new time.

Don't forget the basics. The time change is a great time to review some important sleep habits. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Try to maintain regular bedtimes and awakening times.

Shift meal times toward the new time schedule. For example, if you normally eat dinner at 6 pm, consider shifting diner time on Friday and Saturday to 6:30. That way, once the time has switched you will only be 30 minutes off your usual schedule instead of one hour. Meal times are another important clue the body uses to "set" the biologic clock.

Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible during this adaptation period. Both alcohol and caffeine interrupt sleep and further sleep deprive you at a time when you are trying to readjust your biologic clock.

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11/23 Thanksgiving email

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Subject Line: Turkey & Naps

Body Text: Ever fall asleep shortly after Thanksgiving dinner and attribute it to the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, that is found in turkey? Did you know that turkey actually contains the same amount of tryptophan that is found in other types of poultry? In fact, for the non-meat eaters, tofu actually has twice the amount of tryptophan as turkey.

Why so sleepy?
Scientists say it could be a combination of things…overeating in general can make you tired and too many carbohydrate laden foods can lead to sleepiness. Also, you may have come to the table with some already established sleep debt.

So, how about that nap?
Napping is o.k. if you limit it to no longer than 30 minutes (the best window for napping is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.). When you sleep for more than 30 minutes, you risk entering a state of deep sleep and you may wake up groggy, confused, and unable to fall asleep at your normal bed time.

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December


Happy Holiday Email

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Subject Line: ProjectZ's Guide to Eating Over The Holidays

Body Text: Generally foods high in unhealthy fats (saturated or trans), sugar, salt, or that are particularly “heavy” tend to be poor for sleep.  Saturated and trans fats found in foods like hamburgers, pizza, or french fries can actually reduce serotonin levels and serotonin is one of the most critical chemicals for sleep.

Sugary foods, such as chocolate, fruit juice, and high sugar cereals can create an insulin spike causing energy levels to spike and plummet leading to disrupted sleep. Salty foods, such as nuts and chips, can increase blood pressure and also may have a dehydrating effect which can lead to more nighttime awakenings.

Don't forget that many things contain hidden caffeine, such as dark chocolate and tea. These should be avoided for at least 4 hours leading up to bedtime.

To find out what foods are good for promoting sleep, visit the Sleep University, found on the ProjectZ dashboard, and check out the article: "Food & Sleep."

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December Optional Email

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Subject Line: To Get More Sleep, Look Towards the Light

Body Text: There are many factors that can affect our sleep schedule and our "internal clock" (circadian rhythm). Light appears to be the most important. Bright light in the morning (or for shift workers, whenever you wake up) will trigger the release of hormones related to sleep and wakefulness, telling your body it's time to get going. 
 
The timing of light exposure is critical in helping reset your internal clock for the next 24 hours. If possible try to get at least 30 minutes of light upon waking up. In addition, don't forget to make your room dark when it's time for bed.
 
For those who can't get outside or wake up when it's dark outside, don't forget to turn on the lights inside your home. Another excellent way to increase your exposure to morning light is the use of a light box that produces at least 10,000 lux. Be sure to consult with your doctor to determine if a light box is a good idea for you. 

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