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SAD FAQs

Please find below a number of questions that our sales team are asked regularly. Please take your time to browse the questions and if you have any other queries please contact us using the details here.


How do i choose which SAD Light to use?

The choice of a SAD Light product is basically governed by your lifestyle. Some SAD Lights report a treatment time of twenty minutes but these tend to be larger and more powerful (with the exception of the Apollo GoLITE P1 and Apollo GoLITE M2).

Here at SAD-lighting.co.uk we understand that it can be confusing to choose your SAD Light Therapy product. We have therefore devised a handy guide to help you in choosing the right SAD light box for you. Choosing the right SAD Light for you.

What is the difference between a SAD Light Product and a Dawn Simulator?

A Dawn Simulator is an excellent product and will help you in the mornings. However it does not treat the basic cause of SAD which is lack of natural sunlight, hence the need for a specific medically proven Light Therapy treatment which can be found in our SAD Light Product section.

Dawn Simulators will promote good sleep and help you to wake naturally in the mornings. However, please note that difficulty waking is just one of the symptoms of SAD and a normal Dawn Simulator will not cure SAD.

For a specific medically proven SAD Light Therapy Device, please click here.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months. Milder forms of SAD are known as the "winter blues".

SAD symptoms begin in the late autumn when there is less daylight (or, as we sometimes say, the days get shorter). Symptoms of SAD may not begin to abate until late winter or early spring.

Who gets SAD?

Women account for 70-80% of all people with SAD. SAD is more prevalent in the higher latitudes than in the lower latitudes that receive more sun. Some people who work in offices with little access to natural light may experience SAD all year.

What Causes SAD?

When the light passes through the eyes into the brain, serotonin is released. During the fall and winter, there is less daylight than in the spring and summer, which causes a drop in the body's serotonin levels.

Serotonin is an important chemical in the brain known as a neurotransmitter. A neurotransmitter is a molecule in the brain that helps nerve cells to work together. One of the roles serotonin has in the brain is to act as a traffic cop to other neurotransmitters. Without enough serotonin, a wide range of body functions is affected, including mood. Less daylight is a trigger for the body to increase production of a certain hormone - melatonin. The role of melatonin is not clearly understood, but it is thought to help in the sleep process. The body releases it at night, during sleep.

Together, the lack of serotonin (which helps nerve cells cooperate) and the increase in melatonin (which put a body to sleep) cause SAD.

What are the Symptoms of SAD?

  • Carbohydrate/sugar cravings (sometimes accompanied by weight gain)
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Diminished productivity
  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Low body temperature
  • Sleeping too much
  • Withdrawal from social activities

How is SAD Diagnosed?

Symptoms are the primary basis for the diagnosis of SAD. SAD is not the same as clinical depression. Depression does not have a seasonal fluctuation.

What is the Treatment for SAD?

Light Therapy.

The basic treatment for SAD is light therapy. The British NHS, many European Medical Institutions along with the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association recommend light therapy. Light therapy is as simple as it sounds - adding more light to the environment.

Light therapy can be started in late August or early September, before symptoms start. Normally, light therapy is done each day upon waking in the morning. Some people may find that another session in the afternoon is helpful.

A device called a light box is often used for light therapy. The box contains fluorescent light bulbs, and is set up in a convenient place to receive treatment. This could be a nightstand, a desk, or the kitchen table. The light should not be looked at directly. Sessions with light therapy can be as short as 15 minutes, or as long as three hours. Treatment should be individualised so that neither too much, nor not enough light is received.

Side effects are possible, but are generally reported as minimal. Side effects can include:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Eye strain
  • Feeling "wired"
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

Other Self-Treatment Ideas.

  • Eat fewer carbohydrates.
  • Effectively manage stress.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Increase the amount of light in your daily environment, by adding lamps or skylights and trimming trees or bushes that block sunlight.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Sit near a window whenever possible.
  • Take walks on sunny days, even during winter.
  • Take a vacation in a sunny, warm location, if you are able.

What is the difference between a SAD light and a normal fluorescent light?

Ordinary light bulbs and fittings are not strong enough to treat SAD. Average domestic or office lighting emits an intensity of 200-500 lux but the minimum dose, necessary to treat SAD is 2500 lux, The intensity of a bright summer day can be 100,000 lux.

The SAD Lightbox bulbs also emit the full spectrum of light (the same as natural sunlight), unlike fluorescent bulbs that emit a much narrower range of colours and thus the clarity is greater and better visual acuity is achieved. It is for this reason that sitting under fluorescent lighting can be tiring.

Can I Overdose on Light Therapy?

As it is effectively a supplement of Sunlight you cannot overdose on Light Therapy. However we would not recommend using a light therapy product less than 4 hours before you go to bed as this can affect your body clock, resulting in disturbed sleep patterns.

When is the best time to use the light?

Most people find that light therapy is most effective in the mornings. This is because it gives your body the natural signal that the day has begun and as a result your body clock/circadian rhythms can be regulated.

Some people also benefit from a further light therapy session in the afternoon (around 15:00) when the body takes a natural dip after lunch. If you don't have sufficient time in the mornings, then having a light therapy treatment in the afternoon is better than not using one at all.

We would not recommend using a light therapy product less than 4 hours before you go to bed as this can affect your body clock, resulting in disturbed sleep patterns.

What if I miss a Light Therapy treatment?

In our busy lives it is not always possible to have a SAD light treatment everyday. This is not the end of the world, and you will still benefit from light treatment when you start again.

What are the running costs ?

In the current climate of environmental concerns and rising electricity bills this a common question that we receive. All of our SAD light boxes are very energy efficient:

We have classed our LED based SAD light models as Eco Products because of their outstanding energy efficiency. The goLITE P1 and the goLITE M2 run at 9.9w and a twenty minute treatment would cost approx 0.03p per day. The products are also very lightweight resulting in a low carbon footprint per unit for importing and delivery to customers.

The LEDís are rated at 100,000 hours so maintenance costs are zero for the lifetime of the product.

Our conventional bulb based SAD lights cost from approximately 0.5 pence per hour to run and even our most powerful model (Ultima 4) only costs around 2 pence per hour. You must also take into consideration that the more powerful models are used for less time each day.

The bulbs fitted in our lights last for approximately 500 hours. This means you could use it for nearly an hour a day for six months of the year, and you shouldn't have to replace the bulbs for about 3 years. Bulbs cost around £15 - £20.

Lastly, all our lights have a 2-year warranty. Should you have a problem with the product within that period it would be repaired or replaced under warranty.

Can Children use SAD Lights?

Some children do suffer from SAD and it's perfectly safe for them to use a SAD light. Symptoms would be the same as those suffered by adults. It is also perfectly safe to use a SAD Light if there are children in the room whilst you are having a treatment. Children will often be drawn to the pleasant light that is emitted from the products.

Please remember that all electrical devices should be supervised when being used by younger children.

Due to only small amounts of research being carried out in respect of light treatment and very young children, we do not recommend that babies and very small children use a SAD light.

I have seen other LED Lightboxes much cheaper - are they any different?

Due to the outstanding success of the Apollo Health goLITE products we have become aware of various cheaper copycat LED products. Please be aware that these products may not be produced to the same safety standards and can also make unproven claims as to their effectiveness and treatment times. The reason why the Apollo goLITE has such a fast treatment time is because of the patented BLUEWAVE technology, the treatment of SAD using specific Blue LEDs is supported up by over 20 years of research in conjunction with the US National Institute for Health. Please do not waste your money or put your health at risk and only purchase products that are backed by specific medical research and safety standards. If you prefer to buy a white light we would strongly recommend a proven Full Spectrum Unit that is backed by medical research, and not a copy cat small LED product.

Please click - UK SAD Light Therapy product range to view SAD.co.uk's full range of SAD Light Therapy products.