As the evenings draw in earlier and daylight fades sooner, the effects of losing sunshine to grey clouds and overcast skies can be much more damaging than you might think. While some view the onset of winter as ‘just one of those things’, if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) then it’s not quite as simple as just getting on with it.
Thankfully, there is a solution which is light, portable, easy to use and it doesn’t interrupt your day; SAD lighting is a great way to boost your mood and help you overcome those symptoms that make Seasonal Affective Disorder an everyday reality.
The first step in any kind of cure for SAD is recognising that you are suffering from it. It’s estimated that as many as 2 million people in the UK are affected by SAD, and many more suffer in silence due to not knowing what their symptoms point to. The first and usually most common sign that people tend to notice is a change in mood and generally feeling a bit low; you find that you’re less interested in things you’d normally do every day and going to sleep is an attractive prospect.
Although it’s unclear exactly why people suffer from SAD it is widely accepted that the way in which the body responds to light has a big impression on how it functions. When light reaches the brain it stimulates the Hypothalamus, which is responsible for mood and sleep as well as appetite (lack of sunlight can prevent the Hypothalamus from working properly). The chemical, Seratonin also plays a part in how the body functions as sunlight helps the body to release it and maintain a natural rhythm; it is thought that SAD sufferers have lower levels and therefore struggle with seasonal depression.
Mood swings and the feeling of doom and gloom are not something that anyone should have to live with throughout the winter months so treating these symptoms quickly and effectively with light therapy is a popular choice. There are a number of different lighting units that can alleviate SAD symptoms and which one you choose is dependent on your lifestyle. For busy, on-the-go types with little time to sit around a portable light is a great choice, and for those that want a simple solution to use every day at home, a white light lamp will discreetly fit into your decor. But whichever one you choose, both can be extremely effective in replicating the effects that sunlight has on the body.
SAD is not an easy condition to live with and as well as affecting the sufferer, it can have a profound effect on those around them making relationships and friendships suffer too. Treating it can be a simple case of enjoying artificial light in your peripheral vision for as little as 15 minutes a day. A quarter of an hour is all it takes to help reduce symptoms of SAD, making life that little bit easier.
If you experience seasonal affective disorder and are looking for some SAD lights, visit Sad.co.uk who stock a large range of light therapy equipment.
For information about how hypnotherapy could help to relive certain SAD symptoms, please visit our Depression fact-sheet.