Thursday 16 October 2008
Autumn is closing in on us and Closer thinks that seeing as we didn't get the chance to tank up on sunshine during the pretty average summer season, we might be even more at risk of suffering from SAD.
Otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, the winter depression causes us to suffer from mood swings, lack of energy and sweet cravings amongst other symptoms.
While there is no scientifically proven explanation for this mental disorder, SAD is believed to be related to the seasonal variation in natural light.
While sunlight triggers our body to produce serotonin, the happy hormone, a lack thereof will cause our brain to increase melatonin levels, a hormone that is linked to feelings of anxiety and depression.
And because we don't want you to suffer more than necessary from the lack of sunshine, we have compiled top tips to beat SAD - after all, our ghostly pale skin is bad enough!
Soak up some sun
Make the most of the outdoors - take a walk outside during your lunch break and keep rooms indoors light and airy. During grey winter days try a lightbox which gives off natural light emissions.
Avoid comfort foods and beverages
Foods high in sugar and caffeine, or alcohol based beverages should be limited - they may give you a brief moment of energy but the subsequent ‘come down’ can result in feelings of low mood and lethargy.
Exercising regularly is a tremendous mood booster because it raises the body’s endorphin levels. Endorphins are known for their stress-reducing and mood-lifting properties.
Certain foods like oily fish have been found to help people suffering from mood related disorders , as have herbs like St. John’s Wort. Look for a good quality supplement that has standardised extracts so you know you’re taking the same dose every time. Always seek advice before taking supplements.
St. John’s Wort is a plant which has been used in herbal medicine to help overcome feelings of low mood since ancient times. Although the mechanism of action is not fully understood, investigations have shown that St. John’s Wort inhibits the re-uptake of certain chemicals into the brain, thus increasing feel-good sensations and preventing low mood spells.
Kira St. John’s Wort is available from Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Lloyds and all good independent health food stores and pharmacies.