It’s a SAD Time of Year

17th, November 2017

With winter fast approaching, the short days and long nights can bring more than just grumblings about the clocks going back an hour. The winter season can also cause many of us to be impacted by Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD is also known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more evident and tend to be more severe during the winter. Most people with SAD will experience feelings of depression during the autumn and winter. The symptoms tend to begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're typically most severe during December, January and February.

The nature and severity of SAD varies from person to person. For some it is a mildly irritating condition, but for others it can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day life.

Symptoms that indicate you may be affected by SAD can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • feeling irritable
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • an increased appetite with a craving for carbohydrates and gaining weight
  • low self-esteem
  • tearfulness
  • feeling stressed or anxious
  • a reduced sex drive
  • becoming less sociable
  • find it difficult to concentrate
  • be less active than normal

The Causes of SAD

The precise cause of SAD isn't totally clear, but it's thought to be particularly connected with reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. A lack of sunlight is believed to interfere with the hypothalamus area of the brain.

The hypothalamus area of the brain affects the production of melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Those who suffer with SAD may produce it in higher than normal levels. Serotonin is a hormone that affects mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression. In turn, this may negatively impact internal body clock. Sunlight is used by the body to time various important functions, such as when you wake up. Lower light levels, therefore, may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD.

SAD is also believed to be hereditary, so it's possible that some people are more vulnerable to SAD due to their genes.

Treatments for SAD

A range of treatments are available for SAD including lifestyle measures such as getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels. Also, light therapy, where light emitting devices are used to replicate and simulate exposure to sunlight.

Light therapy is proven to be beneficial only if used consistently and regularly.

There are numerous light therapy devices on the market. Often taking the form of a lamp or a light panel.  Light intensity and light spectrum characteristics vary strongly from one model to the next.

Practically though it’s hard for many of us to find the time to sit in front of a light box for a 30-minute session each day. Users often find these light therapy lamps are not very practical to use and often end up unused at the back of a cupboard.

Light therapy on the go.

The Luminette Light Therapy Glasses for treatment of SAD were launched in 2006 following 4 years of research and development. Researchers at the Liège University (Belgium) combined their knowledge in sleep medicine and physical optics with the aim of creating a light therapy device that was more ergonomic and practical than existing systems in order to improve user comfort. The Luminette Light Therapy Glasses are now available on MediShop.

Light therapy on the move.

Luminette is a portable and lightweight pair of light therapy glasses, letting you go about your activities, while providing ideal light exposure.

Because Luminette is worn like a pair of glasses it allows you to carry on with your everyday tasks, and fit into your daily routine whilst ensuring you get the maximum benefit.

You don't have to sit any more in front of a cumbersome light therapy lamp for 30 min but you can carry on with your daily routine while enjoying the benefits of the light.

Improves your sleep, increases your energy levels and minimizes jet lag. The Luminette is clinically proven to naturally boost your mood and energy and fight winter blues in as little as 20 minutes a day.

It also helps to regulate your body clock and stay in sync with your natural rhythms. Provided with a pocket-sized design, a travel case, and a compact charger, the Luminette is easy to use, easy to store, and easy to take with you when you travel.

The LEDs can be used 20 minutes a day for 50 years without losing efficiency. Designed to minimize glare and maximise comfort Luminette is specifically designed to maintain your field of vision and maximize the effectiveness of the light reaching the photoreceptors in the eyes. Safe to use Luminette has been used every day by 25.000 users since 2006 without any problem and can be used without any inconvenience by people wearing prescription glasses and contact lenses.

A patented, innovative light therapy system, for optimal comfort.

Luminette, available on MediShop, works thanks to an innovative optical device: a light beam enters your eye naturally just like the sun, without dazzling your eyes or obscuring your vision.

White light enhanced with blue light for greater effectiveness.

Luminette light glasses emit a white light enhanced with blue light with a peak at 468 nm. It has been scientifically proven this wavelength of blue light is the most effective at simulating the effects of sunlight and activating our body's positive response to light.

  • 68% of Luminette users reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep
  • Luminette® is just as effective as using a 10,000 lux light box
  • 58% of users of Luminette noticed their energy levels increase, and felt their level of fatigue was reduced.
  • Using Luminette after lunch is just as beneficial as having an afternoon nap.

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