Without enough daylight, our ability to produce vital vitamin D plummets – this is also associated with low mood. Daylight dictates the body’s circadian rhythm so your all-important body clock may also be disrupted. With many of us spending more time than ever indoors here are a few ways to boost your sunlight intake and the supplements to give you a helping hand.
Make point of getting outside every single day – the sun doesn’t need to be shining for you to feel the benefits of natural – as opposed to artificial – light. Take a walk or head into the garden – anything that gets you into the great outdoors will help – even on cloudy (miserable) days. If you can’t physically get out, try and sit beside a window, and make sure curtains are open and blinds raised at home to maximise daylight.
The weather’s awful, you feel awful – carbs are comforting, as is sugar. Don’t be tempted. Overloading with starchy carbohydrates and the sweet stuff won’t help your energy levels. Keep to a well-balanced diet, and (as tempting as it is when feeling low) don’t turn to excess alcohol, which is also a depressant and can disturb sleep patterns too.
Get More Vitamin D
There is a direct link between low levels of vitamin D and low mood. Many of us are deemed to be vitamin D deficient as it is difficult to get enough of the stuff from our diet alone. It’s found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, and fortified dairy products, but it breaks down quickly, meaning the body’s stores can run especially low in winter. Consider taking vitamin D supplement to help – especially in the depths of winter. See our top picks below.
Exercise and physical activity are known to help alleviate some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you are fitter, you generally tend to feel better, which also lifts your mood. You may not feel like it, but a regular work out will help you through.
Regulate Your Sleep
You need to get enough sleep to feel rested, but one side effect of low Vitamin D is the desire to hibernate (literally). Too much sleep can be detrimental so keeping a close eye on how much you are dozing is vital.
Light therapy is one of the first type of treatment many turn to. Research into the real benefits of light therapy is, in fact, fairly limited but it does appear to help in may cases and by exposing yourself to a light box within the first hour of waking you would expect to feel better within a few days. Light therapy boxes come in different intensities so do a little research before you splash out. Most healthcare professionals recommend a 10,000 lux light box and a minimum of 30 minutes exposure daily. The new HumanCharger channels bright light directly into the light-sensitive parts of the brain – exactly where it is needed most. This pocket device takes just 12 minutes to recharge your brain with an effective light dose to improve your mood and mental alertness via the specially-designed LED earbuds. It’s a safe, effective and time-efficient way to get light back in your life!
Up With The Dawn
Designed as alarm clocks, but rather than waking you with a harsh beeping or loud music, dawn simulators produce a light which gradually intensifies, just like the sun rising. Try to find one which uses full-spectrum light which is closest to natural sunlight.