Struggling with low mood this January? We promise you're not the only one. Short, dreary days – and that post-Christmas/not-yet-Spring slump – make January one of the least popular months of the year.
And while we'd always recommend visiting your doctor if things are getting too difficult for you to handle, there are some simple steps that can be taken to help elevate your mood.
Some of our top mood boosting tips include gentle exercise; socialising with friends, even when you don't totally feel like it; increasing the presence of mood boosting foods in your diet – we're talking salmon, avocados and other healthy fats – and investing in a wake up light.
At face value, wake up lights may seem like a super millennial and super pointless piece of kit that you just don't need. But that really couldn't be further from the truth. After some serious testing – and plenty of experience with seasonal affective disorder – we're here to share our experience of them.
1. Wake up lights tap into your circadian rhythms
Want to know how wake up lights work? Well, put simply, they use light (hence the name) to tap into our circadian rhythms – an internal process that regulates the sleep cycle.
By gradually filling a room with light – as the sun would in summer – wake up lights interact with this internal rhythm, gently rousing us from sleep, as opposed to bringing sleep to an abrupt end as a traditional alarm might.
This reduces stress on both the mind and body by ensuring a slower start to the day. It's a small change, but your body will really thank you for it.
2. Wake up lights help you wake as nature intended
As we mentioned, wake up lights aim to replicate sunrise. Once, humans relied on the sun to rouse them from their sleep. But modern life – and all of its demands – mean most of us have fallen out of this pattern, or simply cannot risk the possibility of oversleeping.
But, that shouldn't mean totally abandoning what nature intended. Wake up lights provide the best of both worlds; allowing you to tap into nature while guaranteeing that you make it to work on time. Genius.
3. Wake up lights eradicate the need for stressful alarms
There's nothing worse than an alarm so abrupt that it causes you to leap half-way across the room every morning. And this year, we're on a personal mission to ban that aggressive iPhone alarm, altogether.
Offering a more appetising alternative, the best wake up lights come equipped with a variety of gentle sounds, ranging from birdsong and gentle waves to FM radio. Combined with a gradually brightening light, we can't think of a gentler way to wake up.
4. And make it easy to banish your phone from the bedroom
We know this one's easier said than done, but banishing your phone from the bedroom has been proven to significantly improve sleep quality. So, investing in a wake up light is a great way to eliminate the need for technology in the bedroom as you'll no longer be reliant on a phone to function as an alarm.
And if scrolling through Instagram is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night, you may also find that a new – phone free – bedtime routine has surprisingly significant effects on your mood, too.
5. Wake up lights can help you unwind, too
Leading on from our previous point, establishing a healthy night time routine can also be key to tackling experiences of low mood, this January. Especially as you'll likely feel more tired than usual.
Many wake up lights, including the Lumie Bodyclock 250, come with a sunset function which can be set up to 90 minutes before bed to help you unwind.