Days are about to get even darker, here are three scientifically backed ways to stop your mood from dropping.
As of 2am on Sunday (30th of October), days got darker. While it might mean an extra hour in bed, it can also translate into Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD pretty much does what it says on the tin. The shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter can cause a biochemical imbalance in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which regulates mood, appetite and sleep with half a million people in the UK both physically and mentally suffering.
The result? Sleep problems, anxiety, depression, lack of energy, and compulsive overeating.
Here’s our guide to feeling happier when – and before – SAD strikes.
1. LIGHTEN UP
‘Make the most of natural light and take advantage of any opportunity to be exposed to natural light when possible,’ explains psychologist Elaine Slater.
If your office seat isn’t near a window and you haven’t got time for lunch, a light box packed with bright white fluorescent bulbs can give your serotonin levels a boost right when they need it and reset your internal clock to a more summery schedule.
Position the box just above your eyeline and angle it downwards for about 30 minutes each morning. A 10,000 lux bulb is best.
2. POP A HAPPY PILL
No we aren’t suggesting you self-medicate. But supplementing your diet might do you the world of good.
‘SAD can trigger cravings for carbohydrates, but you can nix that by being more mindful about nutrition during SAD season,’ explains Slater.
Vitamin D is the obvious choice when it gets darker but why not try 5-HTP. Derived from tryptophan (also found in turkey and chickpeas), it can aid sleep and is then converted by the body into the happy hormone serotonin.
Take two before you hit the hay to wake up smiling – even if the streetlights are still on.
3. NEGATIVE ATMOSPHERE, POSITIVE VIBE
Science from Columbia University has revealed that negative ions may be the key to fighting the winter blues.
Negative ions are most prevalent in outdoor summer air, but a slump of them in winter can make your mood spiral downwards.
Use an electrical ionizer machine (like the HeavenFresh HF100 Black Negative ion generator) to mimic summer air.
Just 90 minutes a day should do the trick. You can almost smell the Ambre Solaire