Don’t be SAD, embrace the season

When the nights start drawing in, I mourn for the light nights when I can watch the birds in the garden until late.  But for some people it’s much worse than this. At the end of September or the beginning of October they experience low mood, lethargy carbohydrate cravings and a need to sleep more which can last until the end of April or even the beginning of May.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as winter depression is thought to be caused by lack of natural daylight. Many people in autumn and winter go to work before it gets light, come home after it has gone dark and grab a sandwich at their desk at lunchtime.  The lack of light affects hormones in the brain called serotonin, which explains the low mood, and melatonin, which explains the disruption to your body’s circadian rhythms (your internal clock) and this in turn explains the changes in sleep patterns and appetite.

If you suffer with SAD do speak to your doctor who may recommend light therapy which has been used successfully.  It can however cause headaches and nausea at first.  If you can, try to get some natural daylight every day, even if it is not sunny.  You can also help curb carbohydrate cravings by eating foods that are rich in tryptophen as this is the precursor to serontin.  Foods rich in tryptophen include oats, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, bananas, soya milk, soya beans, mushrooms, tofu, almonds, cashew nuts and spirulina.

Hopefully these measures will enable you to embrace the changing seasons.  Autumn has its compensations such as the beautiful autumn leaf colours, the warming, comforting autumn soups and stews, Halloween fun and bonfire night, the cosiness of drawing the curtains early and curling up with a good book.  As for the birds.  Since the nights started drawing in, a blue tit has started sleeping in a nest box on the side of the house.  I feel very privileged to be able to view her on a screen in my kitchen. Maybe autumn’s not so bad after all.

Please also see 'Herbal help for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter depression)'-

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

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