As we creep towards the festive period the nights are getting darker and a deep chill is setting in.
In less than a week the clocks will go back, UK summertime officially ends and our exposure to sunlight will lessen seemingly by the day.
With temperatures starting to head south, it’s easy to be a bit glum about the climate as the thermals are dusted off for another year.
We will be plunged into darkness morning and night as of October 25 at 2am, which can seriously affect the wellbeing of the thousands of people in the UK impacted by seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The condition is not yet fully understood but is often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight which can affect the brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin. The former can make you feel sleepy, while the latter affects your mood appetite and sleep, prompting symptoms like feelings of despair, lethargy, persistent low mood, sleeping longer than normal and weight gain.
It is also thought that the condition, which affects one in 15 people in the UK, is linked to the disruption of the body’s internal clock and many believe SAD is genetic.
If the seasonal change has a more dramatic impact on you than expected, people are advised to visit their GP for support as anti-depressants can be prescribed in severe cases although there are some everyday remedies you can try.
SAD lights, which simulate sunlight, are readily available while maintaining a healthy diet, getting as much sunlight as possible and keeping active are all advised.
Clearly those gloomy days could spark more than simple winter blues and are something to keep on top of.
TOP FEEL-GOOD TIPS
Leading health management expert Dr Sally Norton has issued some useful advice that could boost your wellbeing during winter.
- Try to get out in natural sunlight as often as possible, even if it is just 30 minutes on your lunch break.
- Exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins around the body, so help to give your body a boost by keeping active.
- Where possible try to avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress levels.
- Speak openly about any issues that you are experiencing with family and friends so that people can understand it and support you.