Are you one of the 10 million people who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Symptoms include oversleeping, weight gain, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. The cause is mostly unknown but could have to do with the increased amounts of melatonin are pineal gland releases in accordance to the day/night cycles.
Five Tips To Battle SAD
- Take Vitamin D. Know your levels. The ideal number you should shoot for is 50-60 ng/ml. Work with your doctor to determine whether you a daily supplement throughout the winter months. Most people require between 2,000-5,000 IU daily of Vitamin D3.
- Get a light box. For as little as 30 minutes a day, exposing your brain to a bright light can help mimic the longer days of summer while combating fatigue and oversleeping. Look for a light box that emits white light and filter out most UV light.
- Exercise regularly. Plan pleasurable physical activities to naturally increase serotonin and release healthy endorphins. Take advantage of snowy weather by taking a ski trip or tubing with kids in the neighborhood.
- Avoid alcohol. It can be easy to nurse your woes with a cocktail this time of year. These liquid calories can add up quickly and cause unwanted weight gain. Try substituting your nightcap with a relaxing cup of chamomile tea.
- Stay positive. Start a gratitude or daily meditation practice so that you can stay focused on the positive things in your life. Spring is around the corner!
If you are experiencing these symptoms for longer than 2-3 weeks or having severe depressive reactions, please contact your primary care physician for a full evaluation.
Dr. Tiffany Lester