Last year, I experiemented with Lumie Lights, so thought it might be helpful for those also affected seasonally to know which I’ve used and how they’ve helped. My first Lumie was the Bodyclock, that simulates dawn, gradually getting brighter and brighter over a period of time until it wakes you up with an alarm. Actually, this is very hard to set – I had to get Mr BBB to do it as it was in danger of being hurled out of the window and it’s a bit of a barrier, however, once set, the absolute joy of that light in the mornings is untold. I would wake with my face bathed in light when outside it was grey and dark. There is no doubt in my mind that it helps. My other tip here is to sleep with your curtains open – even just slightly – for as long as you can before there is no morning light. It does mean that on a bright day like today you might wake early but you will wake to more energy. I use Bodyclock really from about mid-November.
I also have the Bright Spark light for daytime – again I use it on grey days where the low light pretty much doesn’t change all day. Lumie say you need it for half an hour a day but to be honest, I have it on until about 5pm when it feels more natural to settle into darkness. Bright Spark isn’t pretty but it certainly fulfills its role. I also ensure that I get outside, no matter what – any scrap of light is better than none, and we’re quite lucky in the UK that we do have cold, sunny days especially in January; I walk my dogs for an hour every day and have been known to bundle myself up with blankets and sit in the winter sun in the garden just to get as much light as I possibly can. Although I love my sunglasses; wearing them in winter can block a significant amount of light. Obviously, be sensible – you’ll need them for driving and if the winter sun is strong, but try and have some time without them.
We’ve just bought the Lumie Brasil as a gift for someone who also finds winter very difficult and it’s very impressive – so much so that I’m going to get that one as well. With three tubes it throws off a very bright light – enough to bathe a whole room and although you need to be sitting near the light, I’m going to have it in my kitchen so when I’m pottering about I am also getting the light incidentally. Other little things I do just to make things more bearable is use a fragrance such as Jo Loves Pomello that gives you a little olfactory boost – there are some fragrances that just make you smile when you put them on, so save those for days when you’re really low just to put a positive spin on the day, and also a food treat – doesn’t have to be expensive or fattening, but just something to that gives a glimmer of pleasure to be saved for really low days. They don’t help with SAD as such but being kind to yourself with small things on bad days gives more of positive focus.
Finally, I am exploring the option of vitamin injections to help with SAD so will report back when I’ve had them. Lumie lights aren’t cheap – Body Starter is £60, Bright Spark is £115 and Brasil is £150, but to be honest, they’ve been worth every penny. I can say hand on heart that they do help – they aren’t the ultimate cure exactly but when you can barely move from exhaustion they’ll certainly move you on to a place where you have enough energy to live your life better during winter.
If you have to choose between which light to get, I’d opt for the Body Starter, followed by Brasil, followed by Bright Spark. Lumie is HERE
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I had a chance to give the Brasil a quick try in-store. Holy crap, talk about bright! LOL! I couldn’t imagine sitting near it without sunnies on.
I thought we might buy the Lumie desk lamp as OH and I both spend a lot of time at desks on computers.
Thanks for the post on this Jane, I certainly think I have problems with SAD too and would love to try one of these. I’ve just been sceptical about whether it would be worth it. I like the idea of the alarm clock especially as I’m horrible in the mornings.
Do the lights give off UVA radiation? Must you therefore be wearing high protection sunscream if the sad boxes are so bright?
No you don’t need sun screen.
I also suffer from SAD and found out my vitamin D levels were extremely low – I now take 5000 iu a day and it has CHANGED MY LIFE! Please consider having your vit D tested. My father, who actually is in the sun on a daily basis, found out his was so low his doctor put him on a prescription dose. I can’t recommend it enough!
Great post, thanks (and thanks to Jennifer too, will be upping my Vitamin D). My husband bought me the Brasil light last week and I already feel better…..can’t recommend it highly enough, it’s been worth every penny. I look forward to hearing how you get on with the vitamins 🙂
My hubby and I have had a Lumie alarm clock for several years and it’s been a life saver. Before having it, in winter we were waking up feeling as rough as can be with sore throats and headaches. We felt hungover. Within a matter of days we felt better.
I will definitely be getting my Vit D checked. 60 seconds of research on Google after reading Jennifer’s comment told me Vit D is essential for people like me. I have an underactive thyroid and even with treatment, it’s vital to have enough Vit D or it won’t work. Why do doctors not tell people this?!