Does A Lack of Winter Sunshine in Montana Bother You?
Most of us have heard of the syndrome called SAD, which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a recognized form of depression that happens when the nights get longer and days get shorter, especially in the late fall and winter. Some people enjoy the longer nights, but others are not happy at all.
The good news is we have already passed the longest night of the year, which happens on the Winter Solstice. That was Tuesday, December 21. Now, because of the way the Earth is situated as it orbits the Sun, we will have more daylight each day until the longest daylight period on the Summer Solstice in June.
But right now, it's dark...a lot. The folks at the Mayo Clinic outlined some symptoms of SAD:
There are treatments for SAD that include light therapy (also called phototherapy) and there are medications. If you think you have a serious case of SAD, talk to your doctor.
Besides the SAD syndrome, there's another thing going on. Lack of sunshine robs us of Vitamin D, too. That's the vitamin that helps strengthen our bones. The nutrition specialists at the University of Washington Medical Center say that the sun usually sends enough ultraviolet rays through our skin to produce the vitamin - except in the winter at our latitude. Some symptoms include muscle weakness and bone pain.
Nutrition specialist Morgan Chojnacki said in a news release that the solution can be simple. Some foods have Vitamin D. Try salmon, tuna or sardines. Drink fortified milk and dairy products. Grab some eggs and cook 'em up. You can get Vitamin D from some soy products, too. Check the product label. If you want to use a supplement, talk to your medical professional for more information.
And, remember, don't be sad - the daylight is lasting longer and longer.