SAD? BEAT THE WINTER BLUES!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 6, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Classic winter-based seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a serious mood change that usually occurs during the winter months in people with otherwise normal mental health.
It’s believed to be related to lower light levels, and therefore also depends upon latitude and cloud cover. For example, about 10% of people living in parts of the NE United States experience SAD, whereas only 1.5% living in the sunshine state of Florida, experience it.
If you feel tired all the time, sleep a lot, crave carbohydrates (thus are prone to weight gain), and feel depressed during the winter, you could have SAD.
What can help SAD?
LIGHT THERAPY can be very effective in helping to reestablish the body’s regular circadian rhythms, which impact quality of sleep. Getting outdoors for EXERCISE (if possible) is great as it helps to increase exposure to sunlight–there may be a link between SAD and insufficient vitamin D levels. We get VITAMIN D from exposure to sunlight (or supplementing). If you live in the higher latitudes, increasing your vitamin D intake during the winter months could be helpful. FISH OILS (DHA) are also useful for mood-related disorders.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan