If your feeling down as the days get shoter, i know does’nt feel like weve had summer yet, it could be more than a bout of the winter blues (SAD).

01. SAD is a type of winter depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a debilitating form of winder depression that affects up to half a million people in the UK. It occurs from September to April, but is more prevalent in December to February.

02. The disorder has distinct symptoms

The first sign of SAD is usually a drop in energy, which turns to lethargy. Other symptoms inculde, oversleeping or a need to sleep, a compulsive craving for carbohydrate-rich foods, especially sugary snacks and chocolate, lack of confidence, low libido and increased irritability.

03. Lack of light is thought to be the cause

No Definitive answer exists to the cause of SAD, but lack of light is thought to be a major culprit. Light stimulates the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls mood, appetie and sleep. It is thought that the symptoms may be triggered by lack of light and the imbalance in the chemicals melantonin and serotonin produced in the hypothalamus. Research suggesuts that low levels of vitamin D, made by the body n exposure to sunlight, may be another contributory factor.

04. It can affect anyone, at any time of life.

SAD can affect anyone, at any age, though some studies suggest women are more at risk than men and that it is more common in people in their 20s. People with a family history of SAD may also be more susceptible. It occurs throughout the northern and sourthern hemispheres, but is extremely race in those living with 30 degrees of the equator; where dayligh hours are long, constant and extremely bright.

05. Light therapy can be helpful

Light therapy (exposure to bright light at least ten times the intensity of the domestic light bulb) has been shownto be effective in up to 85% of cases.

06. There is a natural solution

Doctors may diagnose SAD if you have had severe, persistent low mood in winter that lifts in spring, for three years running. Antidepressants may be necessary, but some studies show that the herbal remedy St john’s Wort can help, although this should not be used alongside any other medication or light treatment. Always consult your GP or a registered herbalist before trying it.

07. A change of diet can bring benefits

Eating to many simple carbohydrates, such as biscuits and cakes, can create sugar highs and lows, intensifying cravings. Instead go fo high quality carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread and pasta, that are more sustainable. Aim to eat three meals a day, combining protein and carbohydrate for a steady release of energy throughout the day.

Need to know more? These sites may help:-


The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association offers help and support to those suffering
from SAD or winter blues.


Light is a natural stimulant which is why we tend to feel positive, upbeat and full of life when the sun is out. Based in Cambridge (UK) Lumie has been developing light therapy products for 20 years, building on the science behind these and other natural benefits.


A family run online inependent health store, stocking a wide range of St Johns Wort and Vitamin D products.