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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Daylight (or the lack thereof)

Published in General, For the Health of It Author: Troy Payne, MD, FAASM

Had the winter blues lately? Although we had a warm and beautiful autumn the days have been getting shorter since June 20. In Central Minnesota, we get over 15½ hours of sunlight per day in mid to late June. The sun sets after 9:30 pm. People are out mowing their lawns, riding bicycles and pushing baby strollers down neighborhood streets after suppertime.

The shortest day of the year is fast approaching on Dec. 21. We will only get about 8 hours and 40 minutes of sunlight that day. It is pitch black by 5 p.m. Many people who work indoors get to work in the dark in the morning and go home in the dark in the late afternoon.

The lack of sunlight does affect some people more than others. Certain people feel more moody, depressed or have a lesser amount of energy to get through the day. The lack of sunlight in the evening causes one's melatonin level to rise much earlier. There is a lot more yawning at 7 p.m. this time of year as compared to June.

Some people have a more extreme case of the “Winter Blues” and have Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you tend to have more mood issues each fall this might be a reason.

Interestingly, using a bright light box can sometimes help. Especially if your indoor environment is dark having a light box nearby can make your brain feel the daylight is longer. Light boxes can be “full spectrum” white light. Often a light box with 7,500-10,000 lumens can help you “wake up.” If the white light seems glaring some people use a “blue light box.” One does not sit and stare at the light. The light is usually in the same room where you are located off to the side of where you are sitting or standing. They can be purchased through local stores or online at stores like Amazon. If you have had issues with your eyes such as cataracts you should talk to your eye doctor first to see if you can use one of these lights.

Laptop and computer screens are usually positioned pretty close to ones face and also can keep people more awake. Using these too close to bedtime can cause insomnia so avoid that.

The good news is that although winter is just starting the days start getting longer on Dec. 22!

Have a great winter and sleep well.