the exact cause is still unclear, it's thought to be the result
of a chemical imbalance due to the shortening of daylight hours
and restriction of sunlight at this time of year.
nights and gloomy mornings
better known as the 'winter blues', symptoms include a desire to
oversleep, fatigue, a craving for sweet foods, increased anxiety,
loss of libido and inability to cope with tension.
more suffer from sub-syndromal SAD whereby symptoms are mild and
characterised by a general tiredness. But for others it can be a
crippling illness that if not treated can lead to depression and
even suicidal tendencies.
or the use of powerful light boxes to simulate the effects of daylight
for short periods during each day, has proved to be the most successful
form of treatment in up to 85% of cases.
and wife team Philip and Beverley Bunting run the National Light
Hire Company in Southport, offering the world's largest selection
is measured by luminous intensity, or lux," explains Philip,
a community pharmacist.
lightbulbs just aren't bright enough, (emitting only 200 - 500 lux).
The minimum dose necessary to treat SAD is 2,500 lux.
you consider that a bright summers day may peak at 100,000 lux,
you can appreciate just how low winter levels really are."
also include plug-in desktop columns, alarm clocks that simulate
dawn rising and the BrioBrite Light Visor - a version of which is
used by astronauts aboard the International Space Centre.
no fun getting to and from work at this time of year
cases are extremely rare in those living within 30 degrees of the
Equator, but become progressively worse the further away.
Scandinavia, which is subject to almost total darkness in the depths
of winter, selected cafes give new meaning to the term 'light fare'
by offering patrons the use of a light box during meals.
Hilton Hotels in the US fit the same within rooms to aid passengers
with jet lag, having been found to help reset a person's internal
found that SAD also affects those who work in buildings or offices
with no windows," says Beverley in relation to their year-on-year
increase in customer enquries.
herself suffers from the condition following the return of her family
to the UK from Australia.
living conditions can be a problem, such as ground floor flats or
shift workers who may not be exposed to daylight for weeks at a
tested the light visor on the streets of Liverpool where chemist
Sarah Millington and multimedia developer Sam Thomas braved the
stares of passers-by.
work long hours in a laboratory with no windows, so during winter
I don't see daylight except on weekends," says Sarah.
be willing to try anything that might perk me up a bit although
I'd probably use something like this visor in secret!"
agrees, admitting that the chilly weather causes him to become a
bit fed up.
that eliminates the need for alcohol before going to work can only
be a good
on SAD can be sought from the Seasonal
Affective Disorder Association.