While you may have welcomed the extra hour of sleep gained from setting the clocks back, the added hour of darkness in the evenings can actually affect your health and lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The change in schedule and spending more waking hours in the dark can typically trigger symptoms, which can continue through the winter months. Symptoms of the disorder include fatigue, disturbed sleep schedules, depression, hopelessness, moodiness and social withdrawal. More than just the winter blues, SAD is a form of depression that is related to changes in the seasons.
Here are 10 tips to help you feel better:
- Make time for a morning walk or jog to take advantage of the newly available light.
- Spend more time outside, taking advantage of what sunlight there is.
- Exercise outdoors in natural daylight as often as possible.
- Plan a winter vacation to somewhere warm and sunny.
- Aromatherapy can help! Essential oils can influence the areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling moods and the body’s internal clock.
- Create a schedule that will expose you to light at consistent and predictable times.
- Increase your vitamin D intake by eating more fish and egg yolks, drinking milk and orange juice, and taking vitamin D supplements.
- Reach out to others for support and participate in social activities.
- Invest in a light box that mimics sunshine. Allow yourself 30 or so minutes to relax and use your light box. Please note that using a light box at night may result in affect sleep schedules, so we suggest using it in the morning.
- If you continue to feel symptoms of SAD, consult your doctor for additional help and assistance.