Saturday, 10 November 2012

SAD Lamps and Dawn Simulator as a Gift Idea for a Grumpy Git

Being a petulant Christmas gift buyer, my grumpy meter goes through the roof when daylight dwindles in winter. This, I have since discovered is due to SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a down-in-the-dumps due to winter darkness, known in these parts as the ‘winter blues.’ I decided to get myself an SAD lamp (which mimics the effects of the rising of the sun.) Then this got me thinking, why not get a dawn simulator for someone else who suffer the same grumpiness as me? I knew of quite a few grumpy gits!

Why get Grumpy in the Winter Months?

Living in high latitudes (far north or far south) makes inhabitants vulnerable to winter depression. Symptoms include, fatigue, lack of concentration, headaches, lowered libido, carbohydrate cravings and of course, low mood. Little did I realise that sufficient daylight hitting the eyes will suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. Too little of this light will create the symptoms of seasonal depression. With a little research, I found lots of SAD lamps available to help treat this condition.

Which SAD Light Box will Work for Me?

But not every ‘day lamp’ is a proper SAD lamp. The light emitted must include the right wavelength (in that it possesses the ‘blue light spectrum’ known as blue light therapy) and it must be sufficiently bright. Light is measured in ‘lux.’ A proper SAD lamp should emit a light around of around 10,000 lux, which equals bright daylight. There are lots of products that call themselves light boxes, but are not certified medical devices. The light must of the right sort, not just from a standard bright light bulb. When to Use the SAD Light Research at the Moorfields Eye Hospital has found that exposure to ‘simulated daylight’ is most effective in the mornings, rather than any other time of day. Half an hour or so is all that is required. A gradual brightening is better than a sudden illumination. Extra top ups might be beneficial in the afternoon or evening on particularly dark days; some lightboxes simulate sunset as well as sunrise.

Types of SAD Light Therapy and Dawn Simulators for Low Mood

SAD lamps are not cheap, but are going down in price. Some come with extra features such as recorded birdsong to accompany the gradually brightening light at your bedside. Music or the traditional alarm can be used instead. Others emit smells to remind us of spring. Some are low energy or ionise the air. Mobile light boxes might suit office workers, night shift workers or those on the go.

The Ideal Gift for a Grumpy Person with Winter Blues

Light boxes made by Lumie, Apollo Golite, NatureBright or Lifemax are medically certified and specialise in making SAD lights and dawn simulators. Watch out for prices, as some are very costly. Don’t purchase one with unwanted gadget features or costly bulbs. Some SAD lamps get rather hot, so don’t place near curtains and avoid physical contact whilst in full glow. I checked out customer reviews on Amazon and found several I fancied.

Antidote for Winter Blues at Christmas

Examples of inexpensive lightboxes for SAD with mostly good reviews include, Lifemax Lightpod Portable Simulated Daylight Box; the Lumie Bodyclock Starter Wakeup Alarm Clock; Lumie Arabica SAD Lightbox and the Rio Low Energy Light Therapy Lamp. The lightbox that proclaims to be the real thing is the SAD Light Box 10,000 Lux Medically Certified SAD Light Therapy Lamp or NatureBright' Sun Touch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Light. There are certain to be new and improved models available after posting this article.

What to Get a Grumpy Person at Christmas

A grumpy SAD sufferer might be grateful for an SAD lamp to chase away the winter blues. There are lots to choose from and are going down in price. But don’t go for any ‘light box,’ as some are not medically certified. If opting for dawn simulators, prefer those that brighten up gradually. Accompanying birdsong or sweet smells might enhance the spring experience. The grumpy person will have little reason to be grumpy in the winter anymore.

More Gift Ideas for Special Occasions

The air ioniser as a gift idea
Recommended thriller novels for winter
Mother's Day gift ideas
Handmade gift ideas
Jewellery gifts for girlfriend
I don't know what Kindle to buy