It’s December, the time of wintery and dark days. You curl up at home in nice warm blankets, put on your comfiest clothes and binge watch your favourite Netflix series.
Sounds amazing right? However, it’s not amazing for your body because you are missing vital vitamins such as Vitamin D. Today’s blog will explain the importance of going outside and what a lack of it does to your body.
Maybe you are feeling a bit depressed when it becomes winter, but there is no need to freak out about it. There actually exist a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a depression that only comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It’s a common problem in countries where the winters are in big contrast of the summers.
Are you SAD?
SAD often occurs when you are not exposed to sunlight enough. In the winter, the hours of daylight reduce and on top of that you would rather stay indoors then going out into the cold. This lack of exposure creates a deficit in vitamin D because you mostly get this vitamin through the exposure of sunlight on your skin. With sunlight your skin can make its own Vitamin D which is obviously not possible when you stay indoors all the time. Being in a Vitamin D deficit for a prolonged period may lead to muscle weakness and/or osteoporosis.
Besides sunlight on your skin, reduced sunlight exposure also has negative effects on your brain. It is believed that the hypothalamus can’t function properly without enough sunlight. This deficit of sunlight might affect the production of melatonin, serotonin and your bodies internal clock.
Melatonin and serotonin are both hormones. Melatonin helps you to fall asleep by making you feel sleepy. A deficit in sunlight increases the production of melatonin, which may make you feel sleepy throughout the day.
Serotonin effects your mood, appetite and sleep, a deficit of sunlight may lead to a shortage of serotonin and therefor increase the depressed feelings.
Last but not least, low levels of sunlight throughout the day may lead to changes of your body clock. You body clock, also known as circadian rhythm, helps you wake up in the morning and make you feel sleepy at night. When suffering from SAD, you might have difficulty waking up and falling asleep.
On top of these effects, you might know that sleeping problems come along with many other problems and sleep should not be underestimated, it is a vital part of living a healthy life.
Let’s have a look at solutions to prevent or overcome these problems!
A very obvious solution is to get outside more, maybe walk, run or do a workout outside.
You will get some fresh air and sunlight which your body really needs. Try to push yourself to leave the house at least once per day for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Vitamin D supplement
If you tried going outside more and you still think you have a deficit in Vitamin D, you could consider taking Vitamin D supplements to ensure you get enough vitamin D. I would recommend to you try Apollo’s Hegemony D3 2000IU capsules. This is a vegan Vitamin D3 supplement and will give your body a boost in Vitamin D3!
Light therapy (Light box)
Another, less popular, way to cure SAD is by doing Light Therapy. This is a kind of therapy where you would use a Light Therapy Box. This is a kind of lamp which you place next to you while you are working or just relaxing. The lamp copies natural daylight and tricks your brain into thinking you’re outside. This should prevent producing extra melatonin and less serotonin.
Give it a try if you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and see if it works for you!
Let’s recap, wintery days are awesome to binge your favourite series, however it’s quite the opposite when it comes to your health. Prevent a Seasonal Affective Disorder by going at least once per day outside for a minimum of 20 minutes. And if you are already suffering from a vitamin D deficit or SAD, try vitamin D supplements or Light Therapy to cure these common seasonal problems.
Leave a comment you suffer or have suffered from a lack of sunlight and let us know how you solved it, we would love to hear your story!
Written by Sven Nicholson | Freelance Blogger and Online Personal Trainer @ www.healthychanges.nl