Season is the Reason
Autumn officially arrives on September 22nd. And, with the change in season comes chillier temperatures, shorter days, and less light.
Research suggests that cooler temperatures prompt the brain to insulate the body with calories, like a hibernating bear. Oh no!
Because I enjoy the summer, I’m not thrilled about the extended one hour of darkness; which begins on November 4th when we turn the clocks back.
In the past, the cold weather and darkness led me to sit in front of the TV with a cozy blanket; while munching on unhealthy comfort food. Unfortunately, this type of behavior can lead to a worsening of the common seasonal moody blues.
Many people experience the following mood and behavior changes:
Sleeping too much
Experiencing low energy levels
Craving starchy foods
Losing interest in routine activities, and
Developing depressive like-symptoms called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
The major known cause of mood change is the ripple effect of less light.
When sunlight hits your skin, it establishes your sleep clock and fortifies your body with vitamin D. This vitamin behaves similar to a hormone and impacts your brain’s function.
More darkness leads to depletion of Vitamin D; which messes with the chemical reaction in the brain that establishes sleep rhythms. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, during the month of October, people sleep about 2.7 hours more per day.
So, chances are that you might sleep longer, but still suffer from poor quality and deepness of your sleep. Unfortunately, this causes fatigue and grogginess. And, poor sleep impacts your energy level. Then, your body craves carbohydrates for a quick energy boost. This is another reason for weight gain during the fall and winter holiday seasons.
Instead of succumbing to the natural tendency to hibernate like a bear, consider one or more of the following 10 tips to combat the moody blues:
10 Tips for Managing the Seasonal Moody Blues:
1. Bundle up and walk outside when the sun is brightest (noon or after).
2. Join a gym and exercise close to a window (exercise helps combat weight gain too).
3. Keep blinds open during the day.
4. Maintain a sleep schedule.
5. Include Omega-3 foods and fruits and vegetables in your diet. According to Dr. Josh Axe, “Research shows that Omega 3 foods are one of the most important components of your diet in order to prevent or treat mood disorders. The best omega-3 foods include wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and white fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, natto and egg yolks. A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your intake of vital nutrients that support your mood.”
6. Use Lavender Aromatherapy to improve sleep, relax and relieve stress. Lavender essential oils are calming; like a sedative. At bedtime, diffuse 5-10 drops of oil OR add the drops to bath water. Note: Essential oils are pure and potent. Use them with caution; especially if you have a history of sensitivity. Test 1-2 drops if you’ve never used oils before.
7. Proactively schedule activities: Register for a some type of class, establish a friends night out, or plan dinner and movie dates.
8. Take a vacation. Travel to a warmer climate or get away to lift your mood.
9. Ask your physician if Vitamin D supplements, like D3, are right for you. Vitamin D has received a lot of attention in the media because more and more people are testing deficient and this vitamin is important to your overall health and wellbeing.
10. Invest in light therapy box. Sit by the box for 30 minutes to suppress the automatic release of melatonin. This type of light is stronger than a bulb and mimics the sun.
Happy Pumpkin Season, Michele
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear how you adjust to the fall/winter seasons.
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