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HomeHealth & FitnessSix Tips to Defeat Seasonal Affective Disorder and Boost Your Mood

Six Tips to Defeat Seasonal Affective Disorder and Boost Your Mood

As we move further into the new year, we still face short days and lengthy nights. For some, this reduced sunlight leads to a mild sadness, but for others, it develops into seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The shorter days during autumn and winter can disrupt our internal body clock, or circadian rhythm, which regulates our physical functions and changes according to the day-night cycle. 

Joseph Takahashi, who specializes in circadian rhythms at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, says this disruption affects mood-regulating areas of the brain, causing fatigue and low energy because of disrupted sleep.

Fighting SAD involves staying healthy, with experts suggesting various strategies to manage it. It’s always best to consult a healthcare provider before trying new health remedies.

Try Light Therapy

Light therapy, requiring sitting in front of a light box that emits at least 10,000 lux for at least 30 minutes, is a leading treatment for SAD. Dr. Jason Tucciarone, who teaches psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, reminds us that actual sunlight is much more intense, suggesting longer exposure times for weaker light boxes.

Use Dawn Simulators

These devices imitate the natural increase of sunlight, slowly waking you. Research suggests dawn simulators can be as effective as light therapy in reducing symptoms of depression, offering a softer morning routine, according to Tucciarone.

Maintain Regular Sleep Patterns

Sleep quality is crucial, emphasizes Thomas Kilkenny, a sleep specialist at Northwell Health in New York. The shorter daylight hours can disrupt our normal sleep cycles, leading to sleep problems and fatigue during the day.

Click here to learn about more techniques.

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