Health

How to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Online bed and sleep specialist Time 4 Sleep shares some winter self-care tips for coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) 

First of all, what is SAD?

SAD is a depressive illness that’s often triggered by the lack of sunlight in winter. This can affect the hormone levels in the part of the brain which controls sleep, mood and appetite.

How can you overcome SAD when it hits you?

  1. Adjust your routine

Shorter days can play havoc with your daily routine which, in turn, can affect your sleep pattern and your mood. Getting up in the morning can be difficult when it’s pitch black, so to help you get motivated why not: make a ‘to-do’ list for the day or go outside for a walk? A hot drink with your favourite breakfast can also get your day off to a great start.

Try to adjust your routine accordingly to keep yourself happy and healthy throughout the autumn and winter months. If possible, allow yourself a little more time in the evenings to enjoy relaxing and unwinding before the sun goes down. Perhaps have your meal a little earlier so you have more time to enjoy the evening or treat yourself to an extra hour in bed on a Saturday morning so you’re waking up to the sunlight.

2. Get more light in your day

Whether it’s a walk in the morning or on your lunch break, every extra minute of vitamin D can make a huge difference. Light therapy is a popular treatment for those who suffer with SAD, with an effectiveness rate of 85%*, and can work with only 30 minutes use per day for two weeks. Regular exercise and a balanced diet with foods rich in serotonin-boosting nutrients, such as dark chocolate, salmon and mushrooms, will also help you to feel your best.

3. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital in allowing you to function properly throughout the day and increases your overall mood. Try sticking to the same bedtimes and keep the same sleep routine for the autumn and winter months. Eight hours a night is the recommended amount and will leave you feeling the most refreshed and productive the next day.

Making sure you’re sleeping on the right mattress is important for sleeping through the night. Time 4 Sleep director Jonathan Warren says: “Mattresses have a big part to play in the quality of your sleep. Make sure you try and test a few varieties, as everyone’s needs are different depending on their preferences and health needs. It’s definitely one of those products that’s worth investing in.”

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