It’s getting colder, and the days are shorter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder that happens when the seasons change. It’s classified as a seasonal pattern by the DSM-5, a general phenomenon that sees people become moodier and more tired as they go into the winter months.
Our circadian rhythm already undergoes changes due to the shorter daylight hours, which affects our sleep and mood by altering our summertime levels of melatonin and serotonin. The thicker, warmer clothes we wear also block the skin from getting enough sunlight, which interferes with its ability to produce vitamin D – a vitamin that 75% of Americans are deficient for.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to poorer immune systems, weaker bones, chronic fatigue, and possibly mental health complications in the forms of depression, dementia, and schizophrenia. This might reflect a societal bent towards staying indoors and not receiving adequate amounts of natural light, since all it takes is about 15 minutes of direct sun exposure on your face, arms, and legs to fulfill your daily requirements for the D. Longer periods of indirect exposure (i.e., you sitting in the shade) will still meet your needs while minimizing your exposure to UV radiation.
The good news is that vitamin D deficiencies are easily corrected (supplementation is cheap, sunlight is free) and may yield some pretty cool ancillary benefits as well. Athletes from the Northern UK, a perpetually overcast region that receives little sunlight, supplemented with vitamin D demonstrated faster sprint times and higher vertical jumps. Even non-athletes who took vitamin D managed to increase their performance in sprinting and jumping over eight weeks.
I’d also invite you to take a look at your daily schedule. During the peak of summertime, sunset in Dallas didn’t happen until about 9:00 p.m. sometimes; today it’ll happen closer to 7:00 p.m. – which means that everyone’s experiencing what is essentially low-grade jet lag while this new light/temperature thing is being figured out. I’d ask you to let us know what you think on our Facebook page, but maybe you should get some sleep instead.
Adults require 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night, but rarely get it due to increasing demands from work, school, and misguided Netflix marathons. Here are some tips to help you get your sleep schedule back on track.
Wearables are evolving to send alerts and data to your phone, and are able to give you critical feedback based on how you’re doing. As this technology is becoming more sophisticated, the next evolutions of the wearable will be used by more than just fitness enthusiasts – join us after the jump to see how healthcare researchers and patients with chronic illnesses will be using wearables to track and manage diseases.
Athletes have long used cold showers to recover from training and refresh themselves before a big game. You can do the same to be feel healthier, younger, and more alert. Here are four reasons to take cold showers in the morning:
Mindfulness meditation has been practiced for centuries by people seeking spiritual growth, but has become more popular in recent years thanks to endorsements from celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah Winfrey.
In additional to be universally accepted as “good for the soul”, meditation has also been proven by researchers to have measurable influences on the brain – making us feel happier, more content, and more resilient to negative emotions.
The practice has even been shown to help Marines recover from highly stressful environments and improves test scores in public schools. It can be used by anyone, anywhere, to improve focus and cultivate a sense of well-being.