As the winter months drag, a persistent lack of sunlight can have serious implications on mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression linked to the changing of the seasons. It is also known as winter depression, as symptoms are more severe in the winter months, due to lack of sunlight. It is especially common in countries like the UK and Scandinavia, which experience very few hours of daylight in the winter. Symptoms of SAD include low moods, lack of energy, difficulty waking in the mornings, irritability and loss of interest in normal activities.
Experts aren’t entirely sure of the causes of SAD, but believe the changes in daylight hours and lack of sunlight can cause disruptions to the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which influence when we feel alert and when we feel sleepy. It is also believed that lack of sunlight disrupts serotonin and melatonin, hormones that play a role in regulating sleep and mood.
SAD can have a serious impact on people’s daily lives, but there are a number of steps that can be taken to help reduce these symptoms.
Invest in a SAD lamp
Light therapy is a common treatment for SAD and has been shown to improve mood by creating chemical changes in the brain. SAD lamps work by using a special light therapy box which emits bright light that mimics sunshine. It is recommended you sit in front of it for up to half an hour every morning. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before purchasing a SAD lamp, to ensure you are using it safely and effectively.
Take vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for strong healthy bones, cell growth, immune function, and is also believed to play a role in regulating mood. Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, during dark winter months there is a higher risk of becoming deficient, which has been linked to depression and seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D supplements, like our high-strength vitamin D3 & K2 Tablets, have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression in people with vitamin D deficiency.
Perform daily exercise
Regular daily exercise can help boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety by promoting the release of “feel good” endorphins. It also helps stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the brain, improving function to help fight depression. Exercise in the morning is a great way to help your brain and body to wake up. Plus, early morning light exposure may also increase levels of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which can improve sleep quality.
Maintain steady sleep schedule
People with SAD may find it particularly hard to get up in the mornings, or have trouble falling asleep at night. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can help improve sleep and exposes you to light and dark at the same times every day, helping regulate circadian rhythms. Inconsistent and lack of sleep can contribute to symptoms of SAD.
Some people are more prone to suffering from SAD than others, especially those who live in darker countries. By taking simple steps like these mentioned above, you can begin to fight winter depression and get your mood back on track.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]