Everyone has those mornings when they feel like the comforter is a giant squid, trapping them in bed, but for some it’s every morning. Crawling from bed feels like an exhausting struggle, when it should be the best moment of the day - when everything is possible.
Winter time not only limits the amount of sunlight people are exposed to, but can also be a time of very poor light quality, due to the low-angle of the sun in winter time. Researchers examining Seasonal Affective Disorder, Winter fatigue, and other health problems stemming from low-light in winter, encourage people to eat breakfast in areas of the home with abundant natural light.
Unfortunately bright sunshine blazing through the kitchen window while hot pancakes are slowly enjoyed isn’t happening often. It’s usually pouring hot coffee into a to-go mug, inhaling toast, and trying to get a jump on traffic before the sun is even up. Then returning home in the same gloomy darkness.
This winter time cycle runs down the body, and throws off the psychological and physical clock. Heads hit the pillow earlier, but sleep quality is poor. More and more the normal rhythm is flipped on its head.
Poor light quality disturbs those natural body rhythms as the decreased sunlight during the day causes people's "sleep hygiene" to deteriorate, according to Dr. Richard Leung, director of the sleep laboratory at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital.
"People also have the temptation to go to bed earlier because there's nothing to do," Leung said. "By the same token, they sleep in later than normal because the darkness lasts longer, and find it difficult to wake up without sunlight shining through the windows."
It’s possible to fight back against the lack of sunshine and the treacherous comforter, and find that morning vigor that should come after a night’s rest. Portable light therapy devices are now available to be used after waking up. 30 minutes of exposure can have a dramatic effect on energy and alertness.
Devices like LiteBook’s “Advantage” or “EDGE” direct key wavelengths that match sunlight towards the eyes, simulating the sunshine that’s supposed to pouring in through the kitchen windows. LiteBook has packed their devices into a small footprint, easily carried in the pocket to work if there’s no time to use it at home. With proper use, the body can be reset, making it easier to wrestle the squid and leap out of bed with vigor.
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