Don’t get SAD…. get goggles

photo(27)                                                                     CAPTION: Forget the beach … summer is over

I don’t want to keep blogging about the same subjects BUT if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder now is the time you really should be upping your game.

In the UK we’ve just had a golden summer that we’ll probably talk about for years to come in the same way some of us still harp on about the Summer of 1976 ,(if you missed it and were living overseas: it didn’t rain that much). Look out the window this morning and you’ll see fog… there’s no denying summer is over now.When the weather ‘turned  ‘last week and the collective  ‘grey skies’ gloom descended, the chatter  I picked  up (I’m hardly GCHQ but I listen to Facebook,  my kids , husband,  passengers on the train, fellow journos at press dos and  people at the dentist’s surgery), was that we’re all feeling miserable again.

I won’t bore you with lengthy explanations of what SAD is or its cousin winter blues (I call it SAD-Lite).  For that you’ll have to read my earlier blog here (Why we’ve all still got the winter blues), but it’s important to know that using a SAD lamp NOW in the run up to the clocks going back on October 27 and through the winter, may help prevent you getting the blues. Admittedly, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence don’t agree that there is enough evidence on this and says SAD should be treated like depression with antidepressants, but the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association do recommend lamps and if you feel fine in the summer and  don’t like pills (like  me) they might be worth a try.


CAPTION: Light evenings are fading fast

More about light therapy

Anyway  lamps simulate summer light conditions so levels of the ‘ body clock ‘ hormone melatonin are reset to the amount produced in the summer. A bright, sunny day provides around 100,000 LUX (the measure of brightness) — typical indoor domestic lighting only has 200-500 LUX, so most people use SAD lamps with 10,000 LUX. The advice is to use the lamps daily for varying periods, depending on light intensity in autumn and winter, but also in summer if there is no sun.

I was just about to dust off my SAD lamp  to start bathing myself in blue light every morning when an email pinged into my inbox from Luminette  to tell me they are now making SAD goggles – so you don’t have to stay in one place while you get your daily dose of LUX …how convenient. They have been developed by the University of Liege in Belgium to try to improve compliance with light therapy as lots of people are apparently too busy  to sit in front of a light box.Unlike traditional light therapy treatments, Luminette enables you to get  light therapy on the move – ideal for people like me who tend to fidget and  flit about.

According to the PR blurb Luminette® uses a combination of a light source and a hologram with a patented matrix, to increase the number of light rays that pass through the retina, thereby mimicking the effects of natural light. The press release claims  they offer the same therapeutic effects as bulkier  ‘light box’ devices.


CAPTION: Goggle therapy…yes I look like a daft zombie but it’s all in the name of science

Well, reader on your behalf I have been wearing  said goggles loaned this week from Luminette and I can report they are comfortable, resting just above your nose and you quite forget you have them on. I even answered the door to the postman forgetting I was wearing them. As they give your eyes a glassy zombie look – he got quite a shock. I’ve worn them whilst I’m working (although there is a glare if you look at the computer screen), eating breakfast , clearing up and reading the paper. They are battery-powered so you don’t have to plug into a socket and cost £199  plus VAT

Apparently if light therapy is going to work for you, you usually feel better within a week  and I’m definitely feeling more upbeat, so fingers crossed. Anyway I’ll keep you posted.

Watch the 2 minute video –

For more information on SAD and Winter Blues read


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