Every year, it’s the same story: As winter approaches, light and temperatures drop, which can lead to a slight drop in morale in some people, called seasonal depression. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University of MedicineThis phenomenon often occurs in the fall or winter: “It is thought that shorter days and less daylight can trigger a chemical change in the brain, leading to symptoms of depression. »
How to combat seasonal depression?
It’s the time of year that takes a toll on our morale. If hot chocolate and Christmas movies aren’t enough to cheer you up, experts say, there are other solutions to beat seasonal depression.
Prioritize a good night’s sleep
It is crucial for growth, brain maturation, and the development and maintenance of our cognitive abilities. It’s sleep already. It also plays a role in the development of symptoms of depression. to Thomas KilkennyThe sleep specialist said that the lack of sunlight due to the short days of winter can “strongly disrupt our internal clock, which tells us when it is time to wake up and when it is time to go to bed.” This disruption in sleep schedules can lead to insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness. »
According to Jason Tucciarone, phones and computers contain “bright light that can trick the mind into thinking it’s time.” So, to get a good night’s sleep, he recommends setting a consistent bedtime, which includes going to bed at about the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
Read also: 7 lessons from the longest-running happiness study ever conducted
Use light therapy
Exposure to light is undoubtedly the miracle solution. In an interview given to CNNthe doctor Jason Tucciarone, A professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine (USA), confirms that light therapy is “the gold standard treatment for seasonal affective disorder. It consists of exposing yourself to a light box of at least 10,000 lux for at least 30 minutes.”
The specialist recommends using it in the morning, which “can give you more energy for the rest of the day”: “Look away and do something where you sit in front of the light, whether that’s eating breakfast or reading the newspaper or something else that will keep you busy for 30 minutes.” Therefore, it is recommended to stay at a certain distance so as not to harm your eyes.
Invest in a dawn simulator alarm
According to the health professional, dawn simulators, known to mimic natural sunlight, can be a good complement to light therapy, because they “allow you to expose yourself to light as soon as you wake up without straining your eyes.”
Take a walk outside
Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, can help overcome seasonal depression. According to the sleep specialist, this is the best way to really benefit from natural light: “Going out for a short walk can be more beneficial because you are exposing yourself to bright light at the same time. »
Consult a specialist
according to Lucian Manu“, a psychiatrist at Stony Brook Medicine in New York, says cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), such as antidepressants, can help overcome symptoms of seasonal depression: “Cognitive behavioral therapy allows people with this disorder to become aware of what They suffer from it, identify negative thoughts and find strategies to replace these thoughts with more positive thoughts. »
If you feel like you’re suffering from seasonal depression, Jason Tucciarone advises against isolating yourself: “Isolation isn’t good for your mood. You may not feel like having a party or dinner, but even a little company can make a difference.”