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Background information: I recently had a discussion with my friend about a disagreement when renting an apartment and whether or not he should rent a house that faces the sun. My friend has a diagnosis of depression, and he was concerned that a room facing west would cause him to not receive enough sunlight and back aggravate his condition.

Question: I do understand that there is a link between sunlight and depression, but I'm more interested in knowing exactly what factors affect depression and if they exacerbate it.

  1. Light intensity
  2. Duration of sunlight
  3. ...
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According to (my personal experience and) Wikipedia, your friend is right in that the amount of sun exposure might affect their mood: "The incidence of melancholic depression has been found to increase when the temperature and/or sunlight are low." [Melancholia@Wikipedia]

Nevertheless, there are other ways to increase one's exposure to the sun (and to fight depression), from scheduling a daily walk at sunrise to the use of light therapy lamps every morning ("Light therapy has also been suggested in the treatment of non-seasonal depression and other psychiatric mood disturbances" [LightTherapy@Wikipedia]).

In any case, there are many types of depression (and many factors which can cause such mental disorder, of which lack of sunlight exposure is only one among many, such as lack of aerobic exercise, unbalanced nutrition, lack of social interaction, inappropriate amount of sleep, etc.) and I would recommend discussing the issue with the specialist who diagnosed your friend rather than "people on the Internet", even if through a collaborative interface such as Stack Exchange.

I hope it helps!

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