SAD prediction pilot scheme launched
Wednesday 28th January, 2009
In a pilot scheme set up in Cornwall, the Met Office will be sending special forecasts to over 200 people who signed up for alerts about prolonged gloomy conditions.
Participants will receive either emails, text messages or phone calls warning them about poor light conditions that will then prompt them to use light therapy to combat their SAD symptoms.
Light therapy utilises a box fitted with special lamps that produce stronger light and wavelengths than ordinary bulbs. SAD sufferers use the light boxes for 20-30 minutes every day in an effort to combat the lack of daylight.
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression brought on by the lack of daylight from late autumn to early spring and is known as the ‘winter blues’. It is thought to affect over two million people in the UK and causes depression, fatigue, lethargy and food cravings.
SAD is believed to be triggered by an increase in the hormone melatonin which is released when there is a lack of light. The hormone is usually involved with our ability to sleep (hence the lethargy in SAD sufferers) and also reduces the amount of serotonin our body produces (serotonin is a mood-regulating hormone).