Light therapy specialist Lumie is supplying the lights for the Light Cafe running from today to 19th January at Leeds University Union. Now in its fourth year, the pop-up space aims to improve students’ health and wellbeing during exams. The lights will be used to create two areas; one for revision and one for relaxation.
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. Lumie bright lights emit a much higher light intensity or lux (the amount of visible light a person receives at a given point) than standard lighting to provide typically 10,000 lux compared to 500 lux for a well-lit office. This exposure to light stimulates the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that positively affects your mood, and less of the sleep hormone melatonin so you feel more alert. Treatment time is about 30 minutes.
Light therapy provides relief for anyone on the winter blues spectrum, from those who experience a drop in their mood and energy to those who are disabled by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Even if you’re not affected by the winter, sitting with a bright light will make you feel more alert and energetic at any time of day.
"Our pop-up light café is now a much-anticipated fixture at Leeds University Union. The students really appreciate the chance to study and relax with the Lumie lights.”
Chloe Sparks, Welfare Officer, Leeds University Union.
“We can use light at any time of day to acutely boost our mood, level of alertness and ability to perform cognitive tasks. In the winter when our environmental light levels are at their lowest, using a light box while studying or in the morning when we wake up is an effective way to ensure we get enough light. Simply using a bright light box for 15-30 min can have a positive effect.”
Dr Victoria Revell, Circadian Rhythm Expert, Surrey University.
Specific Lumie products in use:
Lumie Arabica – mid-sized lightbox emitting cool white light. Delivers 10,000 lux at 25 cms and typically treats SAD symptoms in 30 minutes; lifts mood, boosts concentration and restores natural energy.
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.
There is now a huge amount of research to support light therapy as a treatment for 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.