I’ve spent ages telling patients that they should invest in a SAD lamp if they have low mood in the Winter time. I’m not really sure why I used to tell them this. I guess I read it somewhere that these were a good thing. However, last September I bought one. I’d done a bit of reading around these and most websites suggested that you should buy the most expensive one you can afford. Mainly it’s to do with the number of lumens reaching the melanopsin receptors in the eyes (no you can’t sit next to it with your eyes closed). So the best thing is to sit reading a book about 25 – 50cm away from the lamp.
I got the Lumie Arabica which was almost £100 (but it’s 10,000 lumens at 25cm) I have to say, I noticed a difference almost immediately. I drive West in the morning (with the sun behind me) and East in the evening (with the sun behind me). So having 30 minutes of bright light exposure in my office first thing in the morning was a revelation. I had almost an instantaneous result.
I don’t think they are the be all and end all of SAD and the symptoms people get with it but certainly they can help lift you out of the daily darkness funk of Winter.
Time – 30mins each day in the Winter months
Equipment – the lamp I guess. You’d be hard pressed to to anything without it.
Cost – ££ – £££ (although, as I said you should buy the brightest one you can afford).
Difficulty – low
Partner Annoyance Factor – nil apart from the cost of the lamp.
Family – irrelevant
Rewards – Winter happiness (or at the very least, less miserable days).