I think I'm living with a reptile?
April 12, 2013 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I suspect my partner may be an ectotherm. Is there such a thing as the combo full-spectrum lamp + heat rock that you'd get for a lizard tank but for adult humans? Anyone have any success making one?

I've browsed through the various SAD-related AskMes and several people suggest variations on the wake-up lights or the small light therapy boxes. I'm not certain that would be enough light?

I have this vague vision of some sort of nest chair + giant sunlamp + electric blanket but I don't know how feasible that is, especially given our very small (and dark) apartment. Any advice or links to an actual product that's a bit bigger than the little Phillips wakeup light would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Wretch729 to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Could you describe the problem you are trying to solve? Is your partner just generally too cold, or do they have problems waking up, or are they physically only able to absorb light via their epidermis?
posted by Think_Long at 10:27 AM on April 12, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not sure if you are looking for ways for your partner to feel warm, or for your partner to be exposed to light? Seems like two different problems. I'm going with the "warm" one.

If you go to any regular drug store like a CVS or a Walgreens, they sell these electric heating pads that come in different sizes and fit into a fleece cover. They cost about $20.

You plug them in the wall, and then you can put them on the bed, the couch, or folded up into an office chair. They make you *SO MUCH WARMER*. I bet if you try this all the other stuff will prove to be overkill, because the heating pad heats up your blood as it goes through your back and legs and so on, and it makes your extremities feel warmer too.

I'm talking about something like this. I would try this before getting into all of your other ideas, because it's cheap and easy, and I bet it will work.
posted by jeb at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Your cold blooded friend might enjoy a tanning bed.

Giant human-sized sun lamps are readily available for a couple hundred dollars at your local hydroponics store.
posted by steinwald at 10:33 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry I should have been more specific. The goal is light more than heat, and specifically just for mood in a dim apartment. We actually have a small heat pad, but it has a cheap cover that's not very comfy. For some reason it had never ocurred to me until reading jeb's comment that I could just sew it into a fleece liner or something similar, and have a much nicer heat source. Thank you jeb!

So that said, I still need a nice full-spectrum light. The idea of a large hydroponics lamp is intriguing. What's the cheapest way to do it? Specific store or website recommendations would be great (I'm in NYC if it matters).
posted by Wretch729 at 10:39 AM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: You probably don't need full-spectrum, you just need a lot of light. Here is a DIY guide to building your own SAD light.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: If there is some sort of integrated chair+sun lamp+heat source solution out there, it probably costs 5x what it would cost to buy a comfortable chair, an electric blanket, and a light therapy lamp. I don't know why a chair+lamp+electric blanket would be any more or less feasible in a small, dark apartment than an all-in-one solution.

They do, however, make heated lounge chairs. We had a model similar to this one and it was not too bad considering it was only a $250 chair (we eventually had to get rid of it because of cat pee, not because it was broken). We also have a Verilux HappyLight and it is really, really bright. However, like all light therapy products, it filters out UV radiation. Which is probably a good thing, because you don't want your partner to get a sunburn or increase their skin cancer risk.
posted by drlith at 10:43 AM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: I started using a Sunbox Sunsation after my psychiatrist recommended supplementing my existing anti-depression regimen with light therapy in the dark part of the year. It is very bright.

"Dosage" varies based on how close it is to your face. I put it on the table slightly off to one side (about an 11 o'clock position) about 18 inches away for 20-30 minutes every morning while I eat breakfast and read Metafilter on my phone. It seems to have helped: I feel less groggy and crabby compared to previous winters.
posted by superna at 11:30 AM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: If you just want a really big light for a reasonable price, high-output T5 fluorescent grow lights like this are pretty good. The light is strong but not blinding, and it is warm but not hot. You could lie and bask under one and that might be pretty nice in the winter. If you have any houseplants they will like it too.
posted by steinwald at 12:23 PM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: I took a tip from a previous SAD-related question where someone recommended using a reptile light and my SAD-suffering husband has had his best winter ever.

Also, if you sew a fleece pouch and fill it with rice, it makes a terrific microwaveable heat pad.
posted by bookdragoness at 7:06 PM on April 12, 2013

One piece of advice, from someone recently diagnosed with ocular melanoma (yes, you can get a deadly skin cancer in your eyeball): WEAR SUNGLASSES WHEN YOU SIT AT THIS THING.

Good ones. Seriously. Tanning beds are equally evil for both eyes and skin, but staring into bright lights for several minutes a day is probably dangerous as well.
posted by jrochest at 10:18 PM on April 12, 2013

My favorite comforting heat-related thing is one of those microwavable aromatherapy stuffed animals you can find at bath stores. It's cozy, I like to put it on/near my head when I have a migraine. I realize it doesn't involve light, but it's nice and warm!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:07 AM on April 13, 2013

Mrs_Eep says that I'm a human lizard and should get a hot rock and a sun lamp, so this question drew my attention!

+1 for the microwavable rice/corn things.

I've been known to take an electric heating pad and put it on the floor for my sock-covered feet when I'm sitting at my desk. Makes a big difference.

I also have a winter hat with "thinsulate" that helps keep my ears warm.

Even a thin wool sweaters is great too. Warm but not too bulky.
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2013

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