Long, dark nights and short days are part and parcel of winter life in Britain. Throw in long working hours and, for many of us, daylight is almost unheard of during the cold months. With around 6 per cent of the population suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and many more experiencing milder symptoms, SAD alarm clocks can be useful in overcoming seasonal depression.
Known alternatively as sunrise alarm clocks, wake up lights, bodyclock lights and natural light alarm clocks, SAD alarm clocks provide a novel form of light therapy that can have a big impact.
Light therapy has long been used to treat SAD, and these days you can access the treatment at home. It’s a relatively simple concept: the clock slowly emits light for 30 minutes before your desired wake-up time (many can be changed to increase or decrease light emission time).
This is designed to combat the sudden, startling awakening of a regular alarm clock, which releases cortisol and causes an imbalance in hormones, potentially leading to bad mood and inertia.
There are many on the market, ranging from around £20 to £200. They all perform the function of waking you with light rather than startling sounds, but the more expensive have features like DAB radios and reading lights. Check they are medically certified to treat SAD before purchasing.