Massive Headaches? It may be your lighting!
Thread poster: David Christian
David Christian  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:57
Japanese to English
Nov 18, 2012

I was a manager for the United States Forest Service where I constructed over 6,000 miles of wilderness trail over my career. Then I became a licensed river guide and ran cargo boats for several years before finally making a career shift to translation. So I usually work outdoors, and am slowly getting used to the indoor life.

After going freelance, I started to spend much more time in my tiny Japanese apartment (closet?). That’s when I noticed massive, unbearable, absolutely horrific headaches. I had always had them before, but never this bad. And there is only so much aspirin you can take and still stay standing. I needed to find the cause, but where should I start, I wondered.

That’s when a friend suggested that the culprit might be my three overhead fluorescent light bulbs in my home (CFLs). After doing some research online, I found a few interesting articles about the reality of fluorescent lighting, and the adverse health effects. You can start by looking at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamps_and_health.

I didn’t even know there was something out there known as Photophobia, but it makes sense, since I also can’t watch TV very long or play video games since they move too quickly on the screen. The numbers of people who are photosensitive are even more confusing – a 5 to 20% range, and not one that has been scientifically tested, so there could perhaps be many more folks who are not reporting problems.

That’s when I decided to make a change and replace all the bulbs in my home with LEDS. I bought Panasonic, 100V 11W 50/60Hz LED bulbs and within 3 days of use my headaches disappeared completely. The reason might be that LED bulbs do not flicker like CFLs, which means they do not trigger my photosensitivity. Or it could be that LEDs don’t emit toxic UV radiation or high frequency radio waves.

I’m no expert – I just know that I feel better, and am finally able to be at peace in my own home, and can continue my translation work at last. Please share if anyone has had a similar experience with these bulbs and perhaps share other things you did to make your home a healthier workplace.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Glad you worked it out! Nov 18, 2012

I for one have always had trouble with my sleep. It is never deep and I always wake up after 2-3 hours and then I somehow have to make myself fall asleep again.

After a few really bad weeks of falling asleep at 6 in the morning a few months ago, I decided to do some research and discovered the Himalayan salt lamps. I bought one and put it on my bedside table.

I've never slept so well in my life

[Edited at 2012-11-18 15:35 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The balance of light is important too. Nov 18, 2012

I get headaches watching TV with friends - I only do it occasionally. The contrast on the TV is maximised, while the rest of the room is dark. They like it like that, but I don't!

Glare behind the screen is not good either. The screen should be just very slightly brighter than the surround, so don't work facing a window. Otherwise your pupils are trying to close to protect you from the surrounding glare, but at the same time opening to focus properly on the centre of the screen, and the tension is a sure recipe for a headache!

But I agree with you - the new energy-saving lighting is MUCH more comfortable than fluorescent.

Simply getting out and getting some fresh air and exercise at intervals helps - preferably in real daylight! (Important for me as the murky northern winter approaches...)

Frequent short breaks are better when time is limited - long enough to loosen up muscles and let your eyes focus on something different. But you should get a real long walk/swim/whatever kind of sport you enjoy once a day too.

Are your headaches migraine?
Aspirin may not be the right remedy, but prevention is of course far better than medication.


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Nuno Rosalino  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
F.lux Nov 18, 2012

Well, I'm not going to write a flowery ad for this, but here's something I always recommend to friends who spend a lot of time on the computer:

http://stereopsis.com/flux/

It's free, try it out and see if you like it. I've always had the same kind of trouble with sleep that Diana describes, and it has certainly helped me a lot.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Thank you, Nuno! Nov 18, 2012

I've been using F.lux all afternoon and my eyes are a lot more rested than they used to be at the end of the night.

Check out those lamps.. I keep them plugged in so I fall asleep with the light on, but I sleep 6-7 hours straight!


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David Christian  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:57
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Never tried salt lamps, but they might be worth a shot Nov 20, 2012

Diana,

I haven't tried the salt lamps before, but I may give them a shot. I don't really have problems sleeping -- I'm so tired from a busy day that I usually just pass out in seconds.

Christine,

I suppose "headache" is a poor choice of words. Massive, hear-stopping migraines might be better. Aspirin seems to null the pain, but switching lighting in the office has helped more than aspirin ever did ^^

I appreciate the suggestions everyone.


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