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Nursing Notes: How to make it through winter without feeling S.A.D.


November 29, 2016

Winter is in full swing, days are short and it’s cold and wet outside.

Around here, it’s frequently cloudy, and we can go days without seeing the sun.

This can cause some people to feel fatigued, tired, irritable or even sad. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D.

There are two schools of thought on why this happens:

- Either the lack of sunlight allows the body to produce too much of a hormone called melatonin during the day, which can affect a person’s mood and make them tired and depressed.

- Or the lack of sunlight leaves us without vitamin D, which we need to absorb calcium.

Low calcium levels can lead to depression and mood swings.

It’s probably a little of both of these reasons that some of us feel down during the winter season. Here are a few things that might help:

- Take vitamin D as a supplement. It’s not as effective as vitamin D from natural sunlight, but supplemental vitamin D can help.

- Ask your doctor about phototherapy, which involves very bright, full-spectrum fluorescent lights.

- Open your drapes to let in what light there is.

- Go outside during the middle of the day when the sun is the highest. Bundle up so you don’t freeze, and stay active.

Remember, summer will return!


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