Some might say that I am a self-deprecating person. However, I don’t want that to lessen the impact of my following statement, because it really is true. I am incredibly lazy. Everything from my makeup routine to my cooking is rooted in laziness. If I could have it my way, I’d lay horizontal and have someone bring me cups of tea all day long. My lack of motivation to do, well, just about anything, is truly astounding.
And that is never truer than in winter. Living in the UK means that as soon as the clocks go back in October, darkness starts setting in from about 3:30 p.m., and the cloudy weather means sunlight is scarce enough as it is. Suffice to say, this doesn’t do a lot of good for my productivity and motivation. In fact, I would go as far as to say that, come winter, I’m one big ball of negativity.
However, a few years ago, I was alerted to the mood-boosting abilities of a SAD lamp by one of my go-to aestheticians, Pamela Marshall at Mortar & Milk. When I told her of the annual winter slump (which, let’s face it, lasts for most of the year in England), she began waxing lyrical of the mood-boosting properties of LED lights. She noticed that after an LED facial, many of her clients noted a lift in their mood, too.
There can be a more serious side to the reduction in sunlight. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. SAD is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight, causing certain parts of the brain to become lethargic. The main theory, according to the NHS, is that it stops part of the hypothalamus from functioning properly, causing an increase in the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us feel sleepy), a reduction in serotonin levels (serotonin is a happiness hormone) and a general malfunction of our circadian rhythm.
Shannon swears by the Lumie Vitamin L lamp.
Since learning of SAD and the apparent role that light plays in its onset, I decided to invest in a SAD light. Before I get into my experiences with SAD lights, I would like to note a caveat that if you are struggling to cope with SAD, it is really important to book in with your GP. My own experience with SAD is mild and manageable, so I felt as though helping boost my daily exposure to light was worth a shot.
The theory goes that investing in a lamp that simulates the sort of bright sunshine you might expect on a summer’s day can help trick your brain into reducing its melatonin production and boosting the production of serotonin. Plus, there are also alarm clocks that mimic a natural sunrise (and sunset) to help get that circadian rhythm back on track.
For the past two years, I have had a SAD lamp stationed on my desk (or wherever I am working) every day throughout autumn and winter. I also have a sunrise and sunset alarm clock from Lumie. Since investing in these two products, I have found it far easier to get to sleep and wake up in the mornings and have also noted a dramatic improvement in my productivity and mood throughout the day.
So if you’re anything like me and struggle with your mood and motivation during winter, keep scrolling for the SAD lights and alarm clocks that might help.
This Lumie SAD light is great as the slim design means that it can pretty much fit anywhere, such as a desk or bedside table.
Beurer’s SAD light comes in a stylish, circular design so it won’t look out of place in your home.
This is another easy-to-transport option, and it even comes with a protective pouch.
If you want a seriously chic option, then you can’t go wrong with this lamp from Lumie. It comes with two modes including a natural sunlight mode for the day and reduced blue-light content for the evening.
This wake up light from Philips features a simulated sunrise and two different wake-up sounds. Trust me, it will help those dark winter mornings feel a little bit easier.
Not only do Lumie lamps look super stylish, but they allow you to set your preferred light intensity for the AM, and you can even wind down with the clever sunset feature in the PM.
This option is great for those of you who want to tailor your lamp to fit your exact routine.
Hatch alarm clocks are super cool as not only can they mimic the sunrise, but they also act as a sound machine to help you get to sleep at night.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.