Winter is coming around the corner and many of us can expect to experience the ‘winter blues’, also known as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD).
What is SAD? It is a common mood disorder that is a growing phenomenon in modern society.
It is widely perceived to cause decreased mood levels and depression and has now been directly linked with seasonal changes and the light levels people are exposed to, especially in countries with irregular weather patterns such as the UK.
Why is SAD affecting more people?
The adoption of electronic light in recent times has led to a change in the ‘circadian’ rhythms of the human body, which controls key features such as sleep-wake behaviour and hormone secretion.
Other modern-day factors such as technology, globalisation and shift-work has been seen to disrupt the lines between night and day, disturbing the 24 hour sleep cycle we ought to be operating on for maximum health and happiness.
The hidden powers of LEDs and why they may be a surprise solution
However, there could be a solution to the problem, which itself is partially caused by artificial lighting; this solution is from another artificial lighting source – LEDs.
LEDs are more helpful in tackling SAD than traditional incandescent light sources primarily due to the quality of light provided by LED bulbs, which give the options of different shades of light, from warm white light, through to cool light and daylight.
Having these options available is essential for combating the ‘winter blues’ associated with shorter days and less natural light. Commercial lights often max out at only 10,000 lumens, which has far too little effect on mood to help with the effects of SAD.
When SAD light therapy research was initially being conducted, scientists could only operate within the confines of the 10,000 lux offered by the best traditional lighting at the time.
However, it was soon acknowledged that a far higher number of lumens was needed, and then LED lamps came to the rescue, with a far more powerful light than that offered by fluorescent bulbs.
The importance of Kelvins provided by LEDs
The best LED lights can offer up to triple this amount, with 30,000 lumens, which research has demonstrated is the equivalent of 1800 wattage from regular incandescent bulbs or 1500 watts of halogen bulbs.
A proponent of LEDs swears by an LED with a Kelvin level of 6000K which replicates that of natural daylight and is described as ‘crisp and invigorating’ on the Kelvin Colour Temperature scale.
According to ‘Psychology Today’ website, LED lights perpetuate the bright blue light of daytime.
This is essential in a time when the interval between day and night has become increasingly erratic and the natural 24 hour sleep cycle that should be natural to people has been broken due to the high demands and stresses of modern life.
How LED lights that can brighten up your ‘Winter Blues’
At Sparks we thankfully have no shortage of LED lighting, adapted for every type of interior or exterior setting. You can start your day off by grooming in the light of a Palermo LED Bathroom wall light, which offers a generous helping of bright and vibrant 3000K light to immediately brighten your mood.
Our range of Louvre Fascia LED wall lights will brighten up your outdoors with 3500K of white light if you are spending a some evenings outside, or if you just came home from work and need some welcoming light along the way.
Finally, if you arrive home after a day cooped up in the office, feeling you haven’t got your share of sunlight, then we at Sparks also provide a range of Flos table lamps, to be placed by your bedside or on your table as you read or surf the internet to unwind.
So, if the winter blues has you feeling under the weather, a few well-placed LED lamps may have you feeling better in no time.
Articles on LED lamps affect on SAD which inspired us:
- An explanation of SAD (via Wikipedia)
- The effect of light exposure on mood and brain chemistry (via US National Library of Medicine)
- information on light-levels effect on our psychology and stress levels (via Psychology Today).
- Factors that could be increasing the cases of SAD in our population (via Meaningness)
- Via Meaningness, why more lumens could be the solution, and how LEDs can improve mood levels.
- Kelvin Colour Scale explained (via Lumens)