Depression is particularly common at this time of year, but recurrent winter depression is often due to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Unsurprisingly it’s the most common in the Northern Hemisphere. Light entering our eyes affects the activity of the brain cells that control our internal biological clocks and body rhythms, partly by regulating the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone.
For most people, continual use of light therapy products is needed throughout the darker months and products now come as everyday items, such as table lamps to provide an unobtrusive option. Dawn simulators may help too as they provide a more natural start to the day.
- Want more seasonal shopping ideas? Take a look at our dedicated shopping page for inspiration
Does light therapy work?
If part of the problem with SAD is that we’re not getting enough sunlight, can ‘fake’ sunlight, in the form of a SAD lamp, help?
Many people use light or phototherapy which mimics natural daylight. The theory is that this will trick your brain into producing appropriate levels of melatonin and serotonin, thus maintaining a balanced circadian rhythm. Some studies suggest that light therapy is beneficial in 85% of people with SAD.
Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150 Wake up to Daylight SAD Light, from Amazon – Was £99 Now £74.25
The Bodyclock Glow 150 from Lumie is a Class 1 graded medical device that will introduce you to the benefits of sleeping and waking with light, so that you can experience a more regular sleep and wake pattern.View Deal
Beurer TL 30 Ultra Portable Daylight SAD Light, from John Lewis –£47.99 (Save 20% – price includes saving)
The TL 30 is a classified medical grade II product, offering 10,000 lux, as are all Beurer SAD lamps.
Thanks to its compact size and LED technology, the TL 30 offers flicker-free, even illumination.View Deal
Lumie Vitamin SAD Light, from Wayfair – £94.99
Slim and lightweight, Vitamin from Lumie is suitable for use at home or to improve your well-being at work.
Proven to boost mood and energy levels, the Vitamin is an established treatment for the winter blues and SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).View Deal
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock, from Amazon – Was £105 Now £76.81
Inspired by nature's sunrise, the Philips Wake-up Light uses a unique combination of light and sound to wake you in a more natural way. It helps you to feel more refreshed, so that it is easier to get out of bed.View Deal
Beurer WL50 Wake Up to Daylight Table Lamp, from John Lewis – £55.99 (Save 20% – price includes saving)
The WL50 from Beurer allows you to fall asleep naturally and wake up gently with simulations of sunrise and sunset.
Its slimline design, thanks to LED technology, is equipped with various light and sound settings that can help to support the sleep rhythm.View Deal
If self-help isn’t improving the situation, then you may need tests or treatments. If necessary, your GP can arrange other effective treatments.