We had a lovely autumn with lots of warm sunny days but now the clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter. Whether or not you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) you may find yourself feeling tired, overeating and experiencing periods of low mood.
Lack of light during the mid-winter season causes an increase in the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy at night), and a reduction of serotonin, the lack of which can lead to low mood.
If you do have symptoms of SAD, you could consider trying Bright Light Treatment using a specialist light box. These lights provide summertime levels of light and have been shown to be effective in up to 85% of diagnosed cases. Light boxes are not available on the NHS and have to be bought from specialist retailers. They are free from VAT when used for medical purposes.
If your symptoms are relatively mild, there are other things you can do. Firstly, take a 30 minute walk outside around the middle of the day. The exercise will make you feel better and you can get the best of the daylight. Secondly, do something that makes you laugh for five minutes three times a day as this will help to boost your levels of serotonin. Thirdly, to boost your levels of wellbeing, keep a notebook of the ‘gifts’ you receive every day. These don’t have to be big things, they can just be the little things like seeing a beautiful sunrise, a smile from a colleague or a cup of tea that’s been made for you.
For more information and advice on SADA see www.sada.org.uk