Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD

  • Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason.
  • Lethargy, lack of energy.
  • Anxiety, inability to cope.
  • Social problems, irritability not wanting to see people.
  • Sleep problems, finding it hard to stay awake during the day, and having disturbed nights.
  • Loss of libido, not interested in sex or physical contact.
  • Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, increased appetite leading to weight gain

These symptoms can range from the mild to the severe and debilitating.  The milder form is often known as the Winter Blues.

The Cause Of SAD and the Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD has a lot in common with the hibernation cycle of animals and research has shown that this is triggered by a response to decreasing light levels. As the days grow shorter and the light becomes less intense, it increases the desire to 'hibernate'.

Light intensity is measured in 'lux' the Latin word for light. On a summer's day at our latitude we may have up to 16 hours of daylight at 100,000 lux. In winter an 8 hour dull day will give less than 5,000 lux and indoor lighting rarely exceeds 500 lux.  All of our SAD lightboxes are designed and manufactured by us to ensure that they produce 10,000 lux.

Treatment for SAD

Historically, treatment for depression involved the use of drugs.  However, in recent years research in the USA and UK showed that SAD sufferers responded, often quite dramatically, to Bright Light Treatment. Our fully proven SAD  lightboxes have been specifically designed and are a recognised method of alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Lack of light causes an increase in the production of Melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy at night), and a reduction of Serotonin, the lack of which causes depression. The exposure to bright light therapy reverses the process, with the additional benefit of being drug free.

You should start to feel the benefit within 7-14 days of using a lightbox.  With our 30 day home trial scheme you have time to evaluate how effective the SAD lightboxes are for yourself.

Using a fully certified lightbox which provides summertime levels of light during the winter you can successfully alleviate the symptoms of SAD with the result that former sufferers can lead a normal, happier life and beat the Winter Blues.  In fact almost everyone can benefit from increased energy levels when using a lightbox.

How to choose a S.A.D Lightbox

To be effective a SAD lightbox must emit a minimum of 2,500 lux, recent studies use 10,000 lux lightboxes which give a quick, effective treatment time. All the lightboxes we manufacture emit 10,000 lux.

Light therapy should be taken as early as possible when you get up, to keep you going through the day.

The most important thing is to be realistic about the amount of time you want to use the lightbox.

So, if you have to get out of the house in a rush then you need one with more lights that will give a quicker treatment time such as the Diamond 4 or Diamond 5.

However, if you are at home for longer periods during the day then one that you can use for longer is just as effective such as the Diamond 2 or the LitePod.

If you can use your lightbox on your desk during the day then the LitePod is an ideal model.

Obviously if you are travelling then the LitePod Multi Voltage is the best choices.

When to use a S.A.D. Lightbox

As early as possible when you get up in the morning. You can use it while you are getting dressed, having breakfast or making the lunch boxes for the children to take to school. Alternatively, you can use it on your desk for most of the day.

If you are about an arms distance away and the light can travel into your eye then the lightbox will be working. You can also leave the lightbox on for longer should you wish to.

We recommend that you should not use a lightbox within 4 hours of bedtime as you need the melatonin to build up towards bedtime to give you a good nights sleep.

N.B. You don't have to stare at the lightbox, just glance at it from time to time, your eye and the intensity of the light will do the rest.

For the Research Papers on:

SAD click here, Symptoms of SAD click here, SAD in Children click here