It’s bleak out there at the moment, and it’s easy to start feeling down about the short days and cold mornings.
If you’re one of the millions of people that suffer from 'seasonal affective disorder', this guide has a few things you can do to make winter a bit more bearable.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) isn’t that well understood, but the NHS characterises it as a lack of sunlight affecting how much melatonin and serotonin your body makes*. This can make you feel tired and put you in a bad mood.
The lack of sunlight also affects your body clock, so sleep length and quality can also be affected.
There are a few smart tech products that can help relieve some of the symptoms of SAD. They’re not just for the winter months either – they can help you work and sleep better any time of year.
Daylight lamps simulate sunlight to make your room feel brighter without uncomfortable brightness.
The light tricks your brain and body into thinking you’re working in normal daylight, so your body makes the hormones that are missing when you’re suffering from SAD.
A lot of daylight lamps are medically certified, so you know that you’re doing your body some good. They're ideal if you work in an office or somewhere dark too.
They’re great for home, the office, and anywhere else you spend a lot of time.
Waking up calmly can make dark morning much more manageable.
Sunrise/natural light alarm clocks gently wake you up with natural light and slowly increasing sounds to avoid that jolt of panic when an alarm rings and you’re in a deep sleep.
A lot of them have calming sounds to help you relax at night and drift off easily.
There are loads of different ways to track your sleep, from smart watches to sensors you slide under your sheets.
If you’re waking up after a long sleep still feeling tired, they’re a great way to find out if you’re getting the right amount of deep (or 'REM') sleep.
You can use the info to adjust your bed time to suit your required amount of sleep, or take it to your GP for help if you can’t fix it yourself.
Some fitness bands have sleep trackers built in. If you're into sports or getting fit, have a look at the section below.
Getting outside and exercising during autumn and winter is a great way to get energised.
Whether you’re working out at the gym or taking a relaxed jog when whether permits, the increased exercise will help you sleep better. Plus, having a goal to focus on can keep you motivated through the darkest days.
Fitness trackers connect to your phone to give real-time info on your performance and how close you’re getting to a target weight or fitness level.