A window coating designed to let in additional light could be key to boosting people's mood in winter, suggest German researchers.
The team has developed an innovative coating that lets in more light than the average window, particularly at the blue end of the spectrum.
"A lack of light leads to high levels of melatonin, which can result in problems sleeping and concentrating, as well as depression and other psychological impairments," said researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg in a statement.
“Nobody’s ever made glass like this before. It makes you feel as if the window is permanently open,” said researcher Walther Glaubitt.
So could this be the key to helping treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - also known as winter depression - which sees sufferers' moods drop in the autumn and winter months? Many respond to light treatments that boost the mood when days are shorter and darker.
“The coating we’ve developed helps people to feel they can perform better and makes it less likely they will fall ill,” said fellow researcher Probst.
If these do work, lets hope they get installed before the winter months approach.
Alternative light therapies to help beat SAD
This light box from Lumie is a great way to absorb (safe) light rays into your body. Ideal to use for 30 to 60 minutes at home, it helps treat circadian rhythm disorders, the main cause of SAD. <a href="http://www.lumie.com/shop/products/arabica" target="_hplink"> Lumie</a>.
Light Spa Therapy
The Sun Meadow room, at the K West Spa, London, is a specialist light therapy which helps alleviate the symptoms of SAD. While you enjoy a relaxing massage, a UV lamp will shine on you from above, boosting the body's Vitamin D levels. <strong>Website:</strong> <a href="http://www.k-west.co.uk/" target="_hplink">K West Spa</a>.
Light Ear Phones
The Valkee ear phones <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/09/light-therapy-earphones-help-sad-seasonal-affective-disorder_n_1083586.html?ref=uk-lifestyle" target="_hplink">hit the headlines</a> recently as it was successfully trialed on SAD sufferers. It works by sending light sensors through the ear phones into the brain. <strong>Website: </strong><a href="http://www.valkee.com/uk/" target="_hplink">Valkee</a>.
A Rio Light Mask works by sending light pulses through the eyes via a soft mask. These pulses can be controlled by a remote and switches off automatically after 15 minutes. <strong>Website:</strong> <a href="http://www.lightmask.com/lightmask.htm" target="_hplink">Light Mask</a>.
Natural Light Alarm Clock
This gentle light is designed to ease you out of bed. The soft rising light wakes you gradually and has a choice of 4 natural and pleasant wake-up sounds. You can add new sounds and music via USB. <strong>Website:</strong> <a href="http://www.philips.co.uk/index.page" target="_hplink">Philips</a>.