A Little Ray of Sunshine


When winter closes in and the days get shorter we lose access to one of nature’s most precious resources – sunshine. Sunlight just makes us feel better – it gives us more energy, makes us more positive and, at the end of the day, helps us fall into a deep and satisfying sleep. So, when we just can’t face heading outside into the blustery chill of the winter months, we need to find our sunshine elsewhere. That’s where bright light therapy comes into play.

Bright light therapy boxes (which you can buy for as little as $70.00) emit a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. The intensity of the light is measured in lux units. A typical therapy lamp gives off a light with the intensity of 10,000 lux. (To compare, the average intensity of sunlight ranges from 32,000 to 100,000 lux, depending upon the position of the sun relative to the earth.) Proponents of bright light therapy recommend sitting near a therapy lamp for 20-30 minutes each morning. They report feeling more energetic and positive, and less likely to experience insomnia.

Science appears to back up these claims, especially for the elderly. Researchers have found that 3 weeks of bright light therapy lessens feelings of depression in seniors by up to 54%. It is thought that the bright light helps to optimize serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a critical hormone that stabilizes mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. Another study suggests that bright light therapy might also reduce the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Additionally, bright light therapy is used to effectively treat insomnia. Dementia, depression and many other conditions can interfere with the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle (also known as the circadian rhythm). Natural light plays a key role in maintaining one’s circadian rhythm – it resets the body’s natural clock. A lack of sunlight can disrupt that clock and result in insomnia or wakefulness. A daily jolt of bright light from a therapy box helps to restore circadian rhythms and enhance the quality of sleep.

It is important to note that bright light therapy is not a cure for depression or a guaranteed defence against insomnia. However, it has been shown to relieve feelings of depression, improve sleep, enhance energy levels and to make people feel more generally positive about themselves and their lives.

Do not despair as the days get shorter and sunshine seems in declining supply. A bright light therapy lamp may be just the thing to replicate the restorative benefits of the sun.

Stay warm and well,

Amy Lewtas, Founder of RetroSparX

Celebrate the Holidays with RetroSparX

We are pleased to announce the following hoilday-inspired RetroSparX memory game units which can be found on our website (www.retrosparx.com). We invite you to delve into the topics and tackle the memory games for seniors that comprise each unit. And we wish you happy reminiscing while you recall, relive and revel in these moments.

Revel in Alistair Sim's A Christmas Carol, 1951

Remember the first time you watched Alistair Sim portray the ‘Bah Humbug!’ philosophy of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeyed through his life with the three spirits of Christmas. The 1951 film is a masterful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, both for its dark and gloomy portrayal of the human condition and for its message of salvation and hope. Read about this Christmas classic.

Included memory games for seniors

  • In O Christmas Tree, select from a list of syllables to build the names of many classic Christmas television shows and movies, as well as the stars or characters that brought them to life.
  • Choose the words to complete the lyrics to some of your favourite Christmas songs in Holly Jolly Carols. We guarantee you will find yourself humming and singing along!

Revel in the Launch of the Etch A Sketch

Memory Game for Seniors - Etch A Sketch

Read about the unlikely success of the Etch A Sketch – a toy that was shunned by most leading toy manufacturers of the day, yet became an instant sensation once it hit store shelves. Few toys have resonated with multiple generations of kids the way the Etch A Sketch has.

Included memory games for seniors

  • In A Cascade of Toys complete a crossword grid by identifying some of the most remarkable toys from the 20th century.
  • In In All Scribbled Up, follow instructions to rearrange letters to gradually transform the word Etch A Sketch into another phrase often heard as a child rips the gift-wrapping from the toy.