The cooler weather often inspires a certain sense of whimsy: crisp walks amidst autumnal foliage, cozy sweaters, pumpkin spiced lattes, and gleeful Netflix binge-watching marathons. But, while many are reveling in the Instagram-friendly arrival of Fall, the seasonal change also heralds a sense of dread for some; as the daylight hours shrink and the dark days of winter loom.
What can seem like lethargy and a strong desire to hibernate due to the shorter days and inclement weather, can actually be a much more complex disorder that has far-reaching consequences.
Understanding winter blues impacts and treatments is key to turning your winter slump around.
1. Our Bodies Need Sunlight To Regulate
Just like plants, our bodies need natural light to flourish and operate their day-to-day functions. Our increasingly indoor existence and hectic lifestyles mean that we spend the majority of our time under fluorescent lighting or worse - staring into the blue screens of our devices for long periods throughout the day.
A lack of sunlight during certain times of the year compounds these indoor habits. Not getting enough sunlight impacts melatonin levels, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. This, in turn, impacts our circadian rhythm (also known as the internal clock). When our body’s natural clock is out of order, the whole delicate balance can become disrupted as it struggles to “tell the time”.
2. Winter Can Wreak Havoc On Our Lives
Without proper sleep and wake cycles, everything else in our lives can go haywire. It’s difficult to concentrate, eat properly and think clearly, let alone maintain relationships and careers. Symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, trouble sleeping, a lack of appetite, and low energy levels. These mental health issues can permeate all aspects of our lives, making it challenging to maintain a healthy and well-balanced life.
3. Light Therapy Can Help
There is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, though - a 10,000 lux light to be exact. Daily exposure for 30 to 60 minutes using a full spectrum light can give your body it’s much-needed daily dose of natural sunlight.
This ultimately leads to a dramatic improvement in mental health and overall well-being during the long, dark days of winter.
So, as the leaves change colour and the days grow shorter, embrace the seasons with confidence, not dread. A daily dose of light therapy will keep your internal clock humming as if you were living in the tropics. With your circadian rhythm singing, you’ll even have the energy and motivation to get outside and explore all that autumn has to offer. After all, the best medicine of all is plain old natural sunlight.
Want to know more about the science behind light therapy lamps?
Read the research or ask us your questions in the comments below!