Light therapy specialist Lumie is supplying the lights for two innovative light therapy initiatives being run by Leeds and Nottingham Trent University Unions over the next month. Leeds University Union successfully pioneered this student well-being project with the Leeds Light Café last year and is now expanding it in order to reach more students. Nottingham Trent University is following suit for the first time this year as part of its stress busting campaign 'Stamp Out Stress' (S.O.S); Trent will also be creating two light therapy zones where students can relax or study.
January is traditionally a low point in the academic year as students face the stress of exams and winter depression which, due to the lack of exposure to natural light, is at its worst. Ruth Caleb, chair of Universities UK's mental well-being working group, says counselling services are facing an annual rise in demand of about 10%. She estimates the use of counselling usually ranges between 5% and 10% of students, depending on the university, which would suggest at least 115,000 students are seeking help.
Students will benefit from a chance to study and relax using Lumie light therapy1. Lumie bright lights emit a much higher light intensity or lux (the amount of visible light a person receives) than standard lighting to provide typically 10,000 lux compared to 500 lux for office lighting. This exposure to light increases the amount of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood) and decreases the amount of melatonin (a hormone that affects your sleep) your body produces2. It is very helpful for anyone on the winter blues spectrum, from those who experience a drop in their mood and energy to those with seasonal affective disorder who are so badly affected that it disrupts their ability to manage their daily routine. Typically 30-60 minutes is enough to provide a mood and energy boost and the therapy is cumulative so it doesn’t have to be taken in one sitting.
Leeds University Union is building on last year’s success to also offer yoga, meditation and adult colouring this year as well as expanding into two rooms to create a study and relaxation space. Lumie light boxes will be in use in the yoga classes in order to help energise students. The overall experience should be fun, relaxing and empowering for students by encouraging them to use practical tools to help them stay well and happy.
“Here at Leeds University Union we wanted to create a haven for our students to prioritise their wellbeing, whether that means studying in peace, taking part in our activities and workshops or just having a break! Our Student Advice Centre has seen an increase in the number of students disclosing issues with depression, mental health and low mood – these problems are particularly acute at this time of year so we’re thrilled to be able to use Lumie light therapy again." Freya Govus, Student Welfare Officer, Leeds University Union
“Nottingham Trent Students Union is excited to be running its first Lumie Light Room as part of our SOS campaign to help students who are struggling with stress and depression in this winter exam period.” Zaz Prosser, VP Community, Nottingham Trent Students' Union
“Lumie is delighted to be able to support these two student well-being initiatives. We know January is particularly tough for students who have to cope with exam stress at a time of year when their mood and energy is more likely to be very low. Those students who try the Lumie lights should find they really help them to feel more alert and better able to concentrate as well as improving their mood.” Jonathan Cridland, CEO, Lumie
1. Specific Lumie products in use:
Lumie Brazil – a powerful light box for optimum SAD treatment; delivers 10,000 lux at 35 cm and typically treats SAD symptoms in 30 minutes – this is the product that will also be used in the yoga classes to take place at Leeds University Union
Lumie Desklamp – a desk light and natural energy booster in one; uses 96 blue-enriched white LEDs and treats SAD symptoms in 30 minutes with the diffuser detached
Lumie Arabica – Leeds University Union is also adding this effective light box to the mix; delivers 10,000 lux at 25 cm and treats SAD symptoms in 30-60 minutes
2. Research refs:
There is now a huge amount of research to support light therapy as a treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This link gives you just a selection and includes the benefits of light therapy as well as research into the possible mechanisms behind SAD.