Professional Ironman Triathlete

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dealing with early season SAD

Back in November, I was supposed to be in Tempe, USA, racing Ironman Arizona, but instead I was starting off-season, side-lined and in rehab due to a flare up with a run. Adding to that the lack of sunshine in November and December in the UK I was planning for a few real grumpy weeks, much to the dismay of my wife!

To combat this, I put a rehab plan in place, set aside time for 'constructive' off-season (and a belated honeymoon), but that still left the fact that my body likes when the days are short, cold and wet.

So I signed up for a trial with Lumie. They sent me a Lumie Bodyclock Active to see if it can shake me out of my early off-season blues and give me some mojo back in spite of the onset of winter.

The Lumie Bodyclock is based on ‘light therapy’ and is designed to help make waking up less of a shock to the system and can help Seasonal Affected Disorder sufferers. I’d heard good reports about it and was interested in trying it out.

It arrived on a dreary Monday morning. It looks like a half sun, and fades in the evenings over a pre-set time like a sunset (which I’m using to tell my wife that its time to stop talking and actually go to sleep!), and then gradually comes on again like sunrise ahead of your wake up call. At the moment we’ve got a beach vibe going on with some gently lapping waves to get up to. Very calming, and I finally trust it enough to not set a back up alarm on my Timex or mobile.

The first couple of weeks we weren't quite in sync with the Bodyclock. My wake up times vary through the week due to work and training commitments, but even so I’ve not hit snooze yet... Even after 10 weeks, the lack of a set am wake up time probably means that it might not be as effective as it could be, but I find that most mornings I wake up before the alarm kicks in. No jarring buzzing needed - that's got to be a plus! There's the added benefit of not needing to look at the time in the early hours if I wake up and its dark - I've set the light to start coming on 20 mins before I have to be up, so without looking at the time I know whether I can go back to sleep or not without worrying.

I really like it. The gentle wake up makes me feel like I've woken up naturally rather than being startled into the day, and I haven't yet hit the snooze button. Its NOT any good for jetlag (you need a different model for that) but it might just put you in a better mood for those early season training sessions.