At this time of year, I don’t know about you, but I wish I was a bear, instead of a human being…stick with me on this one!

As the nights draw in, and it’s dark by 4 or 5 o’clock, and the chilling bite of Winter starts to arrive, all I want to do is hibernate; preferably under a duvet with a mug of hot chocolate, a roaring fire and a bucket load of comfort food.

Your days become noticeably shorter, with fewer opportunities to do things in the light of the day, as most of us are returning from a day at work as dusk and the dark of early evening is already upon us – no longer can we enjoy an after-work drink, or potter in the garden, in the warmth and light of the summer evenings. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, when you get up the next morning, the street lights are still on, and the sun is having a lie-in, so it’s all dark still – hardly conducive to making you want to bounce out of bed to enjoy what the day has to bring! This feeling of being a bit down and fed up, with no motivation, or ‘get up and go’, is not uncommon in fact.

I know there are some people who love this time of year, but I think it all sounds a bit depressing, and is something that could make you feel a bit sad, or S.A.D. in fact.

S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and many of us develop it in the darker months of the year; for this reason, it’s also referred to as the ‘winter depression’.

The big cause of all this is of course the lack of sunshine.

Now, we’re always hearing that sunshine is bad for us, and it is when we’re talking about sunburn, tanning and protecting our skin from the possibility of developing skin cancer, but we also need the sun.

It’s our primary mechanism for producing important things that our body needs, most well-known of which is Vitamin D, which can have a detrimental effect on our bones if we are deficient.

Similarly, and much like when we enjoy other pleasurable things, the sunshine, or rather the lack of it, can hamper the production of our favourite happy hormone – serotonin – in favour of melatonin which is the hormone that makes us more snoozy. So, feeling sleepy or lethargic in the colder, darker months is a direct reflection on the reduced sunlight in our lives. It messes with our body clock as well. If it’s dark outside we think we should be sleeping, even if it’s only 6pm – this means that our natural circadian rhythm gets disrupted, and we may sleep or nap more within a 24-hour period. This tends to lead to a sluggish feeling.

Top Tips For Combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

So, what can you do. Here at Hilton Skin & Body Clinics we have some top tips and treatments which we think will help put the spring back into your step until Spring arrives.

1. Get outside when you can. Getting up for work in the dark and leaving work in the dark can mean that we miss what little light is available to us. Make an effort to get outdoors in your lunch break, have a walk around and make the most of your weekends with a bit more exercise in the fresh, open air. All of this will boost your production of serotonin, get fresh oxygen into your system (instead of the dry air of a centrally heated building), as well as getting some more vitamin D production going on.

2. Boost your body with LED light therapy. Some shops sell special S.A.D. lamps or lights aimed at giving a boost of natural light, but there is little evidence for their efficacy. With DermaLux LED therapy we can produce the positive effects you can get from sunlight, but without the skin ageing negatives that real sun exposure or tanning beds bring. Using red and near infra-red Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) we can boost your mood through light therapy, as well as rejuvenate your skin. I think that can only be a win-win situation!

3. Boost your immune system with an IV vitamin infusion. Being deficient in essential vitamins and minerals can add to any feeling of lethargy, so boost your energy levels, your immune system, and your sense of well-being with a bespoke Intravita vitamin drip treatment to make sure you’re supercharged!

4. Supplement the missing vitamin D. We don’t get much vitamin D from the food that we eat, so many of us are deficient when the opportunity for sun exposure is reduced during the Autumn and Winter months. This means supplementation is the best solution. We advise taking an oral supplement of vitamin D of 5000mg per day to boost your levels.

5. Look after your skin. As we discussed in a previous blog on winter skin, our skin doesn’t generally like the winter months either, so using a programme of professional skincare can give otherwise dull and dry skin a real boost. And let’s face it, if our skin looks better when we look in the mirror, then we will feel better and have a more positive outlook on life!

If you’re feeling affected by the change in the seasons, and looking for a solution to make you feel more like yourself, then please contact Hilton Skin & Body Clinics in Reading today to book a consultation to discuss how we can help.