It’s January, the bills need to be paid and the next bank holiday is over two months away. So it’s really no surprise that people aren’t in the best of moods. January has a particularly bad rep for being a depressing month but there might be more to this than just post-Christmas fatigue.
During the winter months over a third of us leave the house in the dark and come home in the dark. And with half of us not even leaving the office to eat lunch, we can go days without seeing the sunshine. This can have a huge impact on our health as we need sunlight to function normally.
Changes in how much sun you’re receiving affect your circadian rhythms which regulate appetite, energy levels, sleep quality and mood. When these are disrupted people tend to get lethargic, depressed and crave carbohydrates.
It’s estimated that Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) affects seven per cent of the UK population every year between September and April, peaking in January, with an estimated further 17 per cent of the UK population suffering a milder form of the condition.
In the past SAD has been perceived as something of a myth. But if you’re having difficulty waking up, a lack of energy, an increased appetite, a decline in libido and withdrawal from friends and family then you could be suffering from SAD.
Businesses are now starting to pay attention to this too. Each year 9.6 million work days are lost as a result of employees suffering from the ‘winter blues’ with 20 per cent of UK workers calling in sick as a result of the weather. Companies have to remain competitive and start the year on a high – losing valuable manpower because of winter weather is not an option. So what’s the solution?
Forward thinking companies are installing light boxes in their offices to give workers a boost. Light boxes are used to treat SAD by using bright white fluorescent bulbs to reproduce some wavelengths of the sun’s light. Users should start to feel the benefits of using a light box in a week which is good news for businesses and workers alike!