Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression in which sufferers feel lethargic during the dark winter months, and experience relief during spring and summer. The symptoms can include feeling low and sad, losing of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, oversleeping, as well as craving carbohydrates and sweet foods.
So how and why people experience SAD? The structure in the body that responds to light is called the pineal gland which is a cone-shaped structure in the brain that secretes the hormone melatonin. It is thought that SAD stems from an imbalance of melatonin, as well as an increased secretion of cortisol, one of the stress hormones produced by the adrenals when there is not enough natural light.
CCD Natural Lifestyle have rounded up five top tips to help combat SAD with their expert’s advice…
- Take control of blood sugar levels
Dr. Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist (www.marilynglenville.com) explains why controlling your blood sugar levels is important to combat SAD: “When your blood sugar drops (hypoglycaemia), your body produces cortisol and adrenaline in order to realise your sugar stores. You are then producing more of the hormone cortisol which is connected to SAD. The higher your caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates intake is like, the more severe the mood swings will be. My advice is to cut out sugar and caffeine completely if you can. Also eat every three hours as this prevents your blood-sugar levels from dropping and going into hypoglycaemia.”
- Upgrade your shower
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- Cheer up with a gold standard multivitamin
If you are suffering from low energy on a regular basis, reach for a good multi-vitamin, such as Natures Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid (£44.95 Available on Amazon), which helps combat the feeling of tiredness and fatigue. “Packed full of important vitamins such as Folic Acid, Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin B12, this multivitamin will also help you safeguard against any nutritional deficiencies. All of the B group vitamins and folic acid affect brain function, mood and energy levels.’ Says Michela Vagnini, nutritionist at www.naturesplus.co.uk.
- Keep exercising
Most of us feel a pull towards the sofa when the weather gets colder, but it’s a good idea to keep moving as much as you can! Dr Marilyn explains: “Exercise could be helpful in combating the symptoms of SAD as it helps to release brain chemicals called ‘endorphins’ which help us to feel happier, more alert and calmer. It may also be helpful to exercise during the daylight hours if you suffer from SAD e.g. lunchtime rather than early morning or evening so you get the benefit of the light as well as the exercise.”
- Incorporate CBD
It is widely considered that CBD oil is a great way to help manage stress and anxiety. Nutritionist Alix Woods explains how CBD oil can help to stabilise your mood: “Studies show that CBD oil has a stabilizing effect on mood as it works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in physiological processes like sleep, pain perception, memory, mood, digestion, cognition and immunity.”
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