Clock change is here but Lumie light therapy can help
The clock change this Sunday signals darker winter days but light therapy can help, says Cambridge-based light therapy specialist Lumie.
On Sunday 26th October we gain an hour’s sleep as the clocks go back by an hour. Initially we benefit from lighter mornings, but, as we move into the shorter winter days, it becomes harder to wake up, especially if you have to get up first thing for the commute, an early shift, school run or training. The dark winter evenings further impact on our internal body clocks so that up to 17%* of us suffer from the winter blues, feeling extra tired, lacking in energy and down. For the 7%* of the population who have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), these symptoms become sufficiently bad that they struggle to function normally.
Finding it hard to get up is often a biological problem, where the circadian rhythms that control our body clock have got out of sync. This creates sleep inertia, the inability to feel alert and perform when we first awake. Studies have shown that wake-up lights like Lumie Bodyclock, that simulate a gentle sunrise during the last period of sleep, can help set your body clock so you wake up at the right time feeling refreshed and ready to get up. The light stimulates production of hormones that help us get up and go, like cortisol, while suppressing those that bring on sleep, like melatonin. Lumie’s lightboxes or bright lights, which can be switched on while you eat breakfast, will also help reset the body clock.
“Adjusting your body clock with light therapy will not only help you cope with an early start in the morning. It will also lift your mood, energy and productivity all day, and help you to feel ready for sleep when it’s time for bed. In addition, it can help SAD and winter blues sufferers cope with dark winter mornings.” Jonathan Cridland, CEO, Lumie.
“We know that we need light to be able to see, but light is also very important for your mood, level of alertness and sleep patterns. In the winter months when the days are shorter and darker, not only can people feel low and depressed but they can also struggle to wake and get up in the mornings. Light therapy is a useful tool as it helps to keep your body clock on track during the dark winter months and can also directly boost your mood”. Dr Victoria Revell, School of Biosciences and Medicine, University of Surrey.
*Data based on an ICM Online Omnibus Survey conducted for Lumie in 2007/8 in which 2,000 people in the UK were polled.