At this time of year one in eight of us can suffer from winter blues and one in 50 of us suffer from SAD through lack of sunlight.

Symptoms of SAD include fatigue and depression.

Its the sunlight that tells your brain to produce serotonin, which is needed to boost our mood and energy. Lack of it as autumn turns to winter causes an increase in the production of melatonin (which makes us sleepy) and a reduction in serotonin is what can cause depression.

One of the most obvious ways to treat SAD is to get outside in the daylight for at least 20 minutes a day but you can also invest in a light box. Light therapy is the most effective way of decreasing the symptoms. Also it is believed that eating foods rich in an amino acid called tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Also they say that Australian research found that taking vitamin D supplements for only five days in late winter improved the mood of people with SAD. It can also prevent osteoporosis, support immunity and regulate weight. Of course the best way to get Vitamin D is through the effects of sunlight on bare skin. Amazingly they say that Vitamin D lasts for 60 days in the body so if you’ve been away for your annual holiday in the summer, it will mean your levels should be fine until November.

Other sources of Vitamin D can be found in oily fish and eggs, cheese and poultry.

Research also suggests that eating carb-rich foods helps the brain take up tryptophan. You can also find supplements and The Food Agency recommends taking 10mcg a day.


  1. I do believe most people suffer with SAD at some point in their lives. pehapes at different degress, without relising. Well when we had the longest period of snow last year, I could not get my mind in to gear and felt very depressed for a few weeks, until the snow cleared. As soon as the sun started to come back out, I managed to organise myself far better with my course work and house work, its weird, but the sun plays a part in our wellbeing at some form or other:)


  2. I’ve been suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder for a few years (knowingly). I was told to start hitting the gym more frequently, sort out my diet, drop the booze and spend more time outside.

    I felt the change of diet did more good than anything else, I started to eat more fresh fruit and this seemed to have quite a positive impact. Also spending as much time outside as possible was a really good idea.

    As for the gym, I was already going a few times a week before my doctor told me I had Seasonal Affective Disorder but I started to go a bit more. This also helped with my poor sleeping pattern which was great!


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