Home » Home Sweet Home » Living with SAD

Living with SAD

Is it just me who tends to be irritable, less motivated, running for the cake and sweets when days are shorter?

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to get up and find enough energy to be alert in the darkest months of the year. I am not the chirpiest or happiest of people in the morning in the summer by any stretch of the imagination, but I manage to get up much more easily than I do in the winter.

Every single year, it starts when the clocks back for daylight saving time in October. November has always been the worst month of the year for me. The mere thought of it makes my chest tighten.

It was tough when I lived in the North of France and the sky was turning dark just before 5 p.m. When I moved to England, I had no idea it would be worse, and the grey canvass that is sometimes the sky in dull winter months would actually turn darker and darker as early as 3 p.m.

Leaving home for work in complete darkness always made me feel dreadful. I could never live further North, no matter how much I fell in love with the Scottish Highlands or Iceland when I visited.

I first heard about Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) about 6 or 7 years ago, and I very quickly put 2 and 2 together.

What is SAD? It is basically winter blues. People suffering from seasonal affective disorder have normal mental health throughout most of the year but tend to get anxious, lethargic or irritable in the winter. It made complete sense!

In the past few years, I have had a number of SAD lights and alarm clocks simulating sunrise. The first one was a NAF NAF one I was given as a present and I loved it. Although it helped, it used a regular light bulb and after a year or so, it stopped working. I then got a Philips one. I loved it but after a couple of years, I must have dropped it and the light stopped working (non-replaceable LED bulb).

I also have a large SAD light in my middle room, which gets quite dark and gloomy. I even bought a travel SAD light for my mum for Christmas. You could call me a SAD light expert, or at  the very least an obese dive SAD light user! I use my SAD light for photography in the winter months. It is brilliant and it means not using the flash indoors, resulting in much nicer photos. A large number of my food photos are taken using my SAD light with a muslin over it to soften the harsh brightness of it.

Lumie has been on my mind for years, but despite the excellent reviews on Amazon, they were always slightly more expensive than the others I went for.

Last year, my sister-in-law asked for a Lumie Bodyclock for her birthday and she loved it so much I decided to invest when I got my new bedroom. When I got offered to try a Lumie product of my choice, I jumped at the chance!

I have to say I could have opted for all of them. If it was up to me, I would have a SAD light in every room of the house. I went for the versatile Lumie Zest, because it is so portable and can double up as a photo light on the go.

When I unpacked the Lumie Zest, I was even more impressed than I had anticipated. It is incredibly compact, which makes it the perfect travel companion, and a European plug is included, with a great clip-on system to easily convert my UK plug into a French one in a few seconds. Now that is what I call a travel SAD light!

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light - Compact

It is really compact. Its stand, which can be placed in two different positions (one as a SAD light, one as a sunrise simulator) tucks neatly in the back of the Zest for when you are travelling.

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light - Set up as SAD light

The Lumie Zest’s design is modern and sleek yet it looks great in my retro-inspired office space.

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light - Helping in the Winter Months

Although I have been using sunrise alarm clocks for years, it is my first time trying a sunrise simulator that is also a SAD light and I have not been disappointed. It is an excellent SAD light and I love the fact you can fine-tune the intensity of the light and programme the length of time you spend in front of the light.

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light used as a SAD Light

I find that with my big light in the living room, I tend to overdo it and spend most of the day with it on, resulting in regular headaches. That will not happen with Lumie Zest if you set it up.

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light - SAD light for a Happier Me

I have been using my Lumie Zest since for a couple of months. I will not lie and say mornings became easy peasy from day 1, but I did notice an improvement straight away. Although I still snooze once and struggle to get out of bed, once I am up, I am up and considerably more energetic than usual and in a much better mood than the ‘normal’ me. I am also having one cup of coffee only, and do not feel like I need a second cup to face the morning.

Next year when the clocks go back, I might not be a happy bunny (who would be?), but I think I will know I can survive the winter with SAD.

Living with SAD – Lumie Zest Wake-up Light & SAD light

I was gifted the alarm clock, but all opinions and photographs are my own.


  1. Kay Broomfield
    22/03/2016 / 9:24 pm

    A gentle wake up

  2. 22/03/2016 / 9:28 pm

    light therapy, I struggle to wake as it is, even worse in winter months

  3. Pia Stephens
    22/03/2016 / 9:31 pm

    The light therapy definitely, I’m not a morning person anyways but having to wake up in the crack of dawn to do the school run when it’s dark, wet and cold is so not my idea of fun albeit I must admit it’s still a whole lot easier here than where I come from (the Nordics) as winters are rather short here and you still get a fair bit of light! When I was in school it was always dark, the only moments of dim daylight was wasted whilst we sat indoors for months at a time, now that was depressing x

  4. Trudee Hartley
    22/03/2016 / 9:31 pm

    The light therapy to wake me gently sounds great! I’m so moody in the mornings x

  5. Diane Duggan
    22/03/2016 / 9:41 pm

    Relief from SAD – I really need this.

  6. Rebekah Powley
    22/03/2016 / 9:45 pm

    I’d enjoy feeling just that little bit brighter taking the edge off those miserable mornings!

  7. Katie
    22/03/2016 / 9:48 pm

    The light therapy, I like the idea of a gradual wake up.

  8. Oksana Fitzgerald
    22/03/2016 / 9:56 pm

    I love that they put you in a better mood and make you feel more awake

  9. Emily Clark
    22/03/2016 / 10:04 pm

    The fact it wakes you up gently would be fab. I hate being scared awake!

  10. Aaron Milne
    22/03/2016 / 10:06 pm

    I think the light therapy clock would be good for me – feel really low so often

  11. Kim W
    22/03/2016 / 10:10 pm

    I’d love it to help me with my energy as I’ve struggled with Chronic Fatigue for years and now have Fibromyalgia, and one can help clear acne, too. Amazing.

  12. chirag P
    22/03/2016 / 10:18 pm

    waking up light therapy

  13. 22/03/2016 / 10:36 pm

    I love the idea of waking naturally, and feeling better on a morning. I’m definitely not known as a morning person!

  14. Yvonne Hannah
    22/03/2016 / 10:44 pm

    Reading the website , I didn’t realise how I’ve been affected for years , this light therapy would make me less irritable and moody and get my sleep pattern back in order after working years of night shifts .

  15. 22/03/2016 / 10:53 pm

    i’d love the light therapy, got to be better than being rudely awoken by the alarm going off!

  16. Monika S
    22/03/2016 / 11:15 pm

    I love the idea of treating acne

  17. Claire Blaney
    22/03/2016 / 11:32 pm

    In the winter the main on i would want to get rid of is my sad but as its the spring my Acne is my main concern at the moment

  18. amanda greensmith
    22/03/2016 / 11:39 pm

    how strange it can cure acne

  19. George Worboys Wright
    22/03/2016 / 11:47 pm

    Helping with my sleep patterns as I find it hard to get to sleep and then am tired in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.