Extra Sunshine

Unless I take steps to cope with it, I’m someone who is inclined to get the winter blues. I realised a number of years ago after returning to Scotland from London that I was tending to get very run down in the autumn. Couldn’t shake of infections and generally felt a bit limp.

At the time, I went off to my doctor who, after a four minute consultation, wanted me to take happy pills. At the time, that made me rather cross, and I started to look around for other possible things to try. I settled on a Philips Bright Light, and ever since then, I dig it out at this time of the year and bask in its light during the morning. It sits by my computer screen and shines forth for half an hour or so whilst I do my morning e-mails or write a blog entry.

This week is the first week this year that I’ve used it properly, and I suspect I should have started a fortnight or so ago at the equinox.

It is very bright. Lots of people say that they could never sit in front of it like I do. After a few weeks, it seems to make my head a bit buzzy and the answer is to take a few days off.

It is one of those things which I think more people in Scotland should know about. It is a relatively easy non-invasive cure to something that I think affects a lot of people here. It used to feel in the autumn as though I had an allergy to Caledonia. All I needed was a daily boost of extra light to keep me perky.


  1. I expect I have something a bit similar, although never felt the urge to take it to the doctor just yet – seems to be manageable by spending more time closer to a window.

    Thanks for the reminder / pointer – but still, I also see why 16% of people opt for the version that only costs £50ish!

  2. Don’t despise the happy pills too much – they work wonders for some people.

  3. I’m not, Chris. I think they can be very effective. I’m less certain about how effective 4 minute consultations can be.

  4. David | Dah•veed says

    When I lived in the US lots of folks in Seattle suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Full spectrum bulbs overhead can help as well. Like the wee plants, you need your indoor grow lamps.

    I have been noticing that we need to be changing the hour soon, because it is dark here at 7:30 in the morning!

  5. gaielle says

    Hi Kelvin – this is a great chance to say a BIG Thank You – we’d been thinking about a SAD light for several years but didn’t fancy the expense – your encouragement a few years back tipped the balance, and a SAD light joined our household. It transformed my daily winter struggle to cope with life, and certainly helped pa-in-law’s sleeplessness and ‘sundowner’ restlessness associated with his dementia. His docs were very dismissive that there could be any benefit for him with a SAD light, but it helped when antidepressants and sleeping tablets galore did not. Research is gradually creeping in to support these findings scientifically.
    We resumed the ‘Sunshine Breakfast Serial’ a couple of weeks back – ‘just to give it a try again’ – wierd how you kind of forget how it helped before – and I’m sure it is once more making a difference.
    I now thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is noticing a seasonal dip in their energy and health levels.
    Thank You again – and all very best wishes – x

  6. I haven’t got my big light-box out yet, but I’m enjoying my new Philips Wake up Light. It lacks the lovely slow-dim-to-sleep feature of the Lumie, but it is much brighter and better in the morning.

  7. Ritualist Robert says

    I used to work in the rather dark crypt of a parish church and would go home and put on a really bright halogen light we had in the lounge for an hour or so … my flatmates kept joking that I wanted to live in a 7-11 store, but without it I’d have been very sad. These days I have a nice desk in a very sunny office, so I needn’t worry. It’s amazing what a difference light levels make.

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