Luminette Recommendation: September Is The Time Of Year To Start Light Therapy For Winter Blues
For lots of people Winter is a time of year when we feel less motivated, unhappy and generally blue. This is known ‘Winter Blues’ or ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD). Something about the shorter days and lower light levels affects our hormones and makes us feel depressed.
Winter blues have been with me on and off for most of my adult life. I found out what it was in my late teems through the SAD Association and I went ahead and bought a large lightbox. Proper light therapy lamps are expensive as lights go but I found it to be absolutely worth it. You sit with your face very close to the lamp every morning for about half an hour and this stimulates you the way a bright sunny morning would. It lifts your mood for the rest of the day. I’ve found ‘light therapy’ to be a very effective treatment and I’ve had that lightbox for a very long time.
There are some inconveniences to a lightbox. You can read a book at the same time but you’re stuck in one spot which isn’t ideal if you haven’t got up that early and need to get ready. Once my winter blues didn’t seem to affect me so much I started using it by my bedside on a timer to give me that boost before getting out of bed as well as fooling my body into wanting to be awake despite it still being totally dark outside. This did turn out to be unpopular with my wife when we moved in together as she didn’t feel the need to be woken by a bright light every day like I do. The lightbox is currently stored in the garage as we can’t give it houseroom but it’s too durable and too useful as a bright light to get rid of.
Last year I decided to do light therapy properly again and it seemed like there should be something I can use at my desk in the morning. I looked at mini lightboxes and rigging up a newer and lighter lightbox over my monitor but getting them close enough to my face to be affective is not very practical. There is a trend for ‘full size’ lightboxes to get smaller and these small boxes just don’t provide enough area of light at long enough distance to be effective. I looked around some more and found this desk lamp by Lumie that could in theory do the job.
I had high hopes for this and when it arrived it’s a nice piece of kit and easy to use. It still wasn’t that easy to place on my desk to shine close enough into my eyes. I had hoped it could hang over my monitor but it’s not tall enough for that as the screen is large but I was able to get it close enough to work positioned off to the side. However with the bright area being smaller than a full lightbox it has to be more intense and it just never felt that comfortable to use and it did feel like it was going to give me headaches even after trying it for a few weeks. It’s not better than a full size box for me and I decided to try something else.
The next thing I decided to try is wearable light therapy. These put the light source on your head so you can go about other tasks while getting your therapeutic morning light. I considered the options available and Luminette seems to best to me so I bought one. Having got over wearing a weird sci-fi looking pair of glasses on my head, they are easy to wear, very light and comfortable. You can wear them while getting your breakfast and morning coffee or even brushing your teeth as they don’t obstruct your view unless you try to look up at the ceiling. They do make the world around you feel darker as your eyes are bathed in light so it’s best to only use them in a brightly lit room. This can make it difficult navigating a dark house in the morning but you can lift them up on your forehead where they work a little bit like a headtorch until you’re in a brighter area and you can lower them on your nose again. Mostly I prefer to wear them while at the computer with the overhead light on while it’s still dark outside in the morning. They get the job done in about 20 minutes with the least amount of hassle and inconvenience.
Having used my Luminette through last Autumn, Winter and Spring I really like it. I actually used it every day as they are very convenient and this worked for me as I didn’t have bad winter blues. It’s the best solution I’ve found for me. With Autumn about to start I’ve started using it again to ward off those blues. It’s important to start light therapy before you feel down as before you know it you’ll have been feeling down for a while, it will be more difficult to add light therapy to your morning routine if you’re already struggling plus it takes maybe a week for it to start working fully.
If you buy a Luminette through my link it costs £169 (October 2021) which is cheaper than it is on Amazon and comparable in price to a good full size lightbox while being much more convenient. That’s why I bought one.
If you feel down in the winter and you don’t know why, it’s worth checking out the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, which is a charity run by sufferers for sufferers. That’s where I learned about SAD and how to live with it. I’ve added a link below as a source of information.
Please let everyone know what works for your Winter Blues in the comments below. Do you use a lightbox or are you planning to get one?
Buy a Luminette here: https://www.myluminette.com/?ref=jakekuyser
Re-timer is one the other main option for wearable light therapy: https://amzn.to/3vs0EdX
The Lumie desk lamp: https://amzn.to/3t0Mlf3
Lumie do a full size that is 50 cm (19.7 inches) x 31 cm (12.2 inches) so if you have room I would recommend using three of those side by size. https://amzn.to/3vu19Ey
This is more like a full size at 15.5″ Tall x 23″ Wide and gives the 10k lux at a good range of 23″ so it should work well. https://www.sunbox.com/shop/10000-lux-bright-lights/sunray-ii/
Norman Rosenthal MD who first described SAD as a medical condition: https://www.normanrosenthal.com/about/research/seasonal-affective-disorder/
The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association: https://www.sada.org.uk/
Seasonal affective discussion on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/SeasonalAffective/