Lumie Lights On at Leeds University’s New Light Café
Cambridge-based light-therapy specialist Lumie is delighted to be sponsoring a new light café which opens at Leeds University Union on Monday 19 January 2015.
This pioneering initiative aims to provide a calm and peaceful space for students to use a bright light for 20-30 minute sessions, either while studying or simply relaxing. The light café will also offer sessions on meditation and mindfulness, as well as hot drinks. The timing is designed to coincide with the launch of the International Year of Light in Paris 19-20 January and also to help students at a time of year when they struggle most with their energy and motivation.
Lumie is providing 15 bright lights for use in the Light Café; 5 of Lumie Arabica, a simple and effective light box that’s ideal for use at home, 5 of Lumie Brightspark, a compact, light box in a premium modern design that’s ideal for the home or office, and 5 of Lumie Desklamp which provides a natural energy boost and also doubles as a desk light. Regular sessions with bright light can really make a difference to anyone who suffers from winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); it has been shown to immediately increase levels of alertness, boost mood and improve cognitive performance.
From September onwards, up to 24%* of us start to feel the onset of winter blues and don’t feel back to normal until April with the lowest point typically being in January. Of the 24%, around 7% of Northern Europeans are so badly affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that they struggle to function normally. The main symptoms are:
- Sleep problems – oversleeping but not refreshed, unable to get out of bed, needing an afternoon nap
- Overeating – carbohydrate craving leading to weight gain
- Depression, despair, misery, guilt, anxiety – normal tasks become frustratingly difficult
- Family/social problems – avoiding company, irritability, loss of libido, feeling emotionally ‘numb’
- Lethargy – too tired to cope and finding everything an effort
- Physical symptoms – often joint pain or stomach problems, lowered resistance to infection
- Behavioural problems – especially in young people
Most of us know SAD is caused by the lack of bright light in winter; daybreak light is the signal for the pineal gland to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin but, in winter, the light level is insufficient to trigger this process. Lumie’s bright lights deliver between 2,000 and 10,000 lux which means they’re bright enough to help get your body clock back on track. To put that in context, on a bright day but not in direct sunlight the level of brightness ranges from 10,000 to 25,000 lux while in direct sunlight that goes up from 32,000 to 100,000 lux. By contrast, the level of light in a family living room is usually around 50 to 200 lux.
“At the Student Advice Centre, we have seen an increase in the number of students disclosing issues with depression, mental health and low mood and these problems are particularly acute at this time of year. I am therefore keen to offer sessions that are fun, interactive and easy to access. If the project is successful I would hope to run this each year in the winter months.” Freya Govus, Welfare Officer, Leeds University Union
“We are delighted to support this enterprising project at Leeds University as well as to mark the launch of the International Year of Light. Leeds Light Café promises to offer a great space for fun and relaxation as well as delivering the benefits of Lumie’s light therapy to improve mood and alertness, which are particularly needed at this time of year.” Jonathan Cridland, CEO, Lumie
*Data based on an ICM Online Omnibus Survey conducted for Lumie in 2007/8 in which 2,000 people in the UK were polled.