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6 Ways to Ease Seasonal Depression

Amazing as it sounds, the natural light we receive through our eyes controls our moods, sleep, appetite, temperature and sex drive. Throughout the winter months many people travel to and from work during darkness, literally not seeing sunlight for days on end. Research has now established that a lack of sunlight can disrupt the balance of the brains chemistry, and it is believed that the combination of long dark winter nights together with the colder temperature contributes towards this depressive disorder.

As winter weather approaches, there comes an inclination to stay inside, watch movies, bake, prepare for holidays, and do all the cozy things people love to do. This time of year usually means spending more time with family and friends, but also overshadows the fact that 1 in 6 people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD, also known as seasonal depression.)

The Science behind SAD: During the hours of darkness the pineal gland produces a chemical called melatonin which makes us feel drowsy and signals the time for sleep. Exposure to sunlight prevents the production of melatonin whilst increasing the production of a neuro-transmitter called serotonin. When seasons change, the circadian rhythm (biological clock) in your body shifts due to the changes in daylight, and this can affect the body’s production of serotonin and hormones. It has been discovered that disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms together with a decreased production of serotonin can trigger depression.

Seasonable Depression signs:

  • Drop in energy level;

  • Irritability;

  • Difficulty concentrating;

  • Tendency to oversleep;

  • Fatigue;

  • Weight gain;