Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mild form of depression (also known as "winter blues") which is thought to affect up to 20 per cent of the population. It is believed to be caused by shorter hours of daylight in autumn and winter, with the midwinter months of December, January and February being the worst for sufferers.
SAD is usually treated as depression and doctors will suggest talking treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy or medication in the form of anti-depressants. Many patients find sitting in front of a lightbox for 30 mins to one hour each morning is useful – as the light decreases production of melatonin to decrease sleepiness and to increase production of serotonin to improve mood.
Here are some of the best on the market...
1. Lumie Arabica SAD Lamp
Named after a coffee bean, this lamp might give SAD sufferers a similarly effective wake-up jolt in the mornings. The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association recommends using a lamp that emits at least 2,500 lux, with 10,000 lux being considered the optimum. And that's the figure that the Lumie Arabica produces. With a solid four-and-a-half stars, it is the highest-rated SAD lamp on Amazon and one happy buyer wrote: "I put the light on and it's like that summer light that makes you feel OK again. It's instant and it's beautiful."
2. Beurer Wake Up Mood / Read / Music / SAD table light
Combining an alarm clock and a light-therapy device, this stylish device comes on at your time of choice, beginning with a deep red glow and gradually lightening to a bright white to mimic a natural sunrise. It also has built-in speakers which allow streaming of music and other audio from your smartphone or tablet in good sound quality. With a tap-on function, you don't even need to locate the switch when turning it on or off – making for a truly multi-functional device.
3. Lifemax SAD Lamp
At the more affordable end of the scale, the Lifemax SAD Lamp is medically certified and puts out a maximum of 10,000 lux – though can be adjusted to just 2,500. Compact in size at just 20.5cm x 12.3cm, it has an adjustable angle stand or can be mounted on the wall. One buyer wrote: "It makes me perk up in the morning and switching it on is the first thing I do when my alarm goes off. It is bright enough to use like a lamp too."
4. Duronic SADV1
The Duronic SADV1 is another medically certified option, and is also another device with a handsome four-and-a-half star rating on Amazon. Appearing a little like a slab of light when lit up, it sits upright with the aid of a stand – so can be positioned beside you on a desk, table or dresser. The reviews are glowing, if you'll pardon the pun, with one user describing it as: "Like sitting in front of sunshine - uplifting, makes you smile internally."
5. Beurer TL100-2
With the appearance of a glowing glass disc, the Beurer TL100-2 is distinctive in its design and doubles as a mood light as well as potentially alleviating SAD. In SAD mode it pumps out the requisite 10,000 lux when required, but can of course, be set softer. The user is able to choose from 256 colours in mood-lighting mode. One writer of a five-star review commented: "Really worthwhile for SAD sufferer or to brighten anyone's winter morning."