How to Fight the Winter Blues

With darker days comes Seasonal Affective Disorder
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 7:20 PM CST
It's not the snow, it's the lack of sunlight that gets people down.   (AP Photo/Young Kwak,File)
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(Newser) – If the winter months make you tired, reclusive, and inclined to binge on junk food, you may have SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. About 15% of Americans suffer from at least mild symptoms. And while most chalk up their blahs to cold weather, Christmas blues, or work stress, the prime culprit is thought to be diminishing daylight. The Wall Street Journal runs down some remedies:

  • Light therapy: About 20 minutes of exposure to an intense light at the point when your body expects daylight (but doesn't get it in the winter) has proven effective. Check the Center for Environmental Therapeutics for more information.
  • Dawn stimulation: A variation of light therapy gradually turns the light level up shortly before you wake. Patients report waking with more energy.
  • Negative air ions: Oxygen molecules charged with extra electrons seem to have mood-lifting properties. Commercially available ventilators fill the room with such molecules.
  • Exercise outdoors: The cheapest solution may be to expose yourself to as much light as possible with a walk in the morning or at lunchtime.

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