Bus Stops in Sweden Get Special Lights for Winter

January 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. therapy (n.) 
[ther-uh-pee]– activities done to cure a sickness or help a sick person get better
Example: Drug addicts need to have therapy.

2. install (v.) [in-stawl]– to put in a certain position or place
Example: Cameras were installed in all the hospital rooms.

3. depression (n.) [dih-presh-uhn]– sadness that continues for a long time making a person unable to live normally
Example: A person can die of depression if he refuses to eat or move.

4. appetite (n.) [ap-i-tahyt]– a feeling of wanting to eat food
Example: Children have strong appetite for sweets.

5. expose (v.) [ik-spohz]– to remove or allow an object or person to go without covering or protection Example: Apply sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun.

Read the text below.

Special light therapy lamps have been installed in 30 bus stops in Umea, Sweden, a town located 500 kilometers north of the capital, Stockholm.

Umea’s winter temperatures can drop to as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius (-30°C). The town also experiences very short days during the winter season. During winter, the sun rises at about 9 a.m. and sets around 2 p.m. The sun shines for only four and a half hours every day. Within that short time, many people in Umea are working inside buildings, so they are unable to enjoy natural sunlight.

Lack of sunlight during wintertime can sometimes lead to a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  According to Britain’s National Health Service, there is a theory that says light affects the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls a person’s mood, appetite, and sleep. A person who suffers from poor sleep, appetite, and mood could experience depression.

The new lamps installed by Umea Energy help the people of Umea avoid depression during winter. People can freely enjoy the benefits of light by standing in front of the lamps while waiting for their bus to arrive. The lamps do not release harmful UV rays, so the light will not cause sunburns or skin damage.

Anna Norrgaard, the marketing head of Umea Energy, says people who want to get the full benefits of light therapy should expose themselves to the lamps for about 30 minutes every day, since that is the standard that professionals use in light therapy.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that a lack of sunlight can affect our mental or emotional health? Why or why not?
·          What else can people do to take better care of their mental and emotional health?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people suffer from depression?
·         What do you do to make yourself happy when you are feeling sad?


January 5, 2013