For some, autumn means cosy evenings eating roast chestnuts in front of the fire, blackberry-picking scrambles and fun on Bonfire Night.
But, for up to 20 per cent* of us, it’s the start of the slide into the winter blues with mornings becoming a losing battle with the duvet and the days a blur of caffeine and sweet treats to try to keep us going.
For a few, it gets so bad that life is seriously disrupted with depression, lethargy and social withdrawal, symptoms that add up to a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
If that’s you, what can you do about it? Light therapy specialist Lumie has five top tips for helping to keep you in shape as we go into winter:
Tip 1: Most of us know SAD is caused by the lack of bright light in winter; light therapy provides a level of light equal to the brightness on a clear spring morning, about five times brighter than a well-lit office. Just 30 minutes’ sitting in front of a bright light will banish SAD symptoms for most people. It’s also useful for an energy boost during the day.
Tip 2: Try a wake-up light like Lumie Bodyclock; a gentle sunrise comes on gradually, reaching full brightness when you need to wake up. The light suppresses the production of the sleep hormones and stimulates the get up and go ones so you find yourself waking naturally feeling alert and ready to get up. (You could win one this month with Psychologies, click here)
Tip 3: Try to get into a regular sleep/wake routine as that will help to keep your body clock on track which in turn will make it easier for you to sleep well and wake refreshed. Establish an electronic devices curfew from at least an hour before bedtime – the blue light they emit is alerting – and use the sunset feature on Lumie Bodyclock to help you unwind before you sleep.
Tip 5: Beat the carb cravings by making sure you have to hand healthy snacks like seeds, nuts, bananas and avocados that fill you up but release energy slowly helping to avoid the yo yo effect on your blood sugar of eating too many sugary snacks. Try to reduce your caffeine intake too, especially close to bedtime.
* Standard statistics published by SADA, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association: two per cent of the UK population suffers from SAD, 20 per cent from the winter blues
READ Are you SAD? by Frances A. Masters on LifeLabs