Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD as it’s also known) is a type of depression which comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, and is often known as being the ‘winter depression’ because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. Symptoms often begin to appear during Autumn when days are getting shorter, and they tend to be their most severe during December, January and February. I often see people mocking SAD but it’s no laughing matter as it can have a significant impact on those that suffer with it. The symptoms of SAD include; a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability, feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day and sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning. One of the recommended treatments for SAD is the use of lightbox for light therapy which helps to stimulate exposure to sunlight, and I personally have the Maplin 10,000 Lux Mini SAD Light £44.99.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or ‘winter depression’ is linked to reduced exposure to sunlight, which may affect your production of melatonin, serotonin and disrupt your body’s functions and patterns. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy, and serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. Lower serotonin levels are linked to feelings of depression. Your body also uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as waking up, so the lower light levels during winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD and general fatigue.
The shorter, dark and dreary mornings make it incredibly hard to get out of bed at the best of times but my Maplin SAD Light has massively improved my mood in the mornings. It’s a 10,000 lux light box with a foldable tripod on the back so it can stand up as well as having screw holes so you can mount it onto the wall too should you wish to. The bulb inside the light offers upto 8,000 hours of light and although it’s described as being a ‘mini’ light, I personally don’t think it’s particularly mini as it’s 27cm x 20cm x 8cm and it’s nice and lightweight so it’s very portable.
How can the light help combat the effects of SAD?
Using a SAD light for a few hours at a range of 15cm away will help increase your levels of serotonin and decrease your levels of melatonin, this in turn will brighten your mood and make you feel more awake – giving you more energy.
When my alarm goes off in the mornings, I turn my lamp on and it’s incredibly bright. I knew it was going to be bright as it’s designed to mimic sunlight, but it’s amazingly bright and it lights up my whole bedroom whilst I get ready. The lamp does also give off a little heat, and the front of the light does become quite hot after around ten minutes but the warmth the light gives off really does feel as if it’s warmth from the sun. I know the light isn’t designed for this, but it doubles up as a pretty fabulous studio light for blog photos which I love as not only does it help get me going and motivated in the mornings, it also helps to get my blog photos done which is a massive bonus.
I have always used daylight bulbs within my lamps and light fixtures as they definitely help my mood, and this lamp is such a mood boosting gadget to own in addition to my daylight bulbs. Some SAD lamps can run into hundreds of pounds, so to get such an effective more compact size lamp for under £50 really is great value and I love applying my makeup whilst it’s on as it stops me having any makeup mishaps as it mimics real sunlight. I know not everyone will have the need for one of these lamps, but if like me you really struggle during the winter I think it’s a brilliant option and there are lots of reviews on the Maplin site if you fancy reading some more opinions on this particular lamp.
I’d love to know if you’ve ever tried light therapy before? Do you find your mood changes come the Winter?