Controlled UV exposure during the coldest months helps fight SAD
Even though the Winter Season hasn’t officially started yet, temperatures across Colorado are already dropping, and we’ve even had snow in some places. The Holiday Season during winter has a lot of reasons for us to be happy about, as it is full of surprises, presents, generosity and good will mostly everywhere. However, it is also common for a lot of people to “feel down”, “with the blues” or depressed due to the shorter days and lack of sunlight exposure.
What is SAD?
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a severe condition that can be developed, which refers to episodes of depression that occur annually during fall or winter. The disorder is known to begin in adolescence or early adulthood and usually occurs more often in women compared to men.
Its symptoms can include: afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration, increased appetite with weight gain, increased sleep and excessive daytime fatigue, lack of energy and loss of interest in work and other activities, slow, sluggish, slow movement, social withdrawal, and unhappiness and irritability.
Differences between general depression and SAD include weight loss as opposed to weight gain and problems sleeping instead of increased sleep.
How can Vitamin D help with SAD?
Recent studies have shown a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and symptoms of depression. Also, receptors for vitamin D have been found in many parts of the brain that are linked to the development of depression, which means that vitamin D is acting in some way there, even though it is not yet fully understood how. For these reasons, vitamin D has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems.
Vitamin D is different from other vitamins, in the sense that it can be made by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight (UVB rays, to be more accurate). Other vitamins need to be absorbed from food, as the body can’t make them.
You can come to Veranda Sun for a controlled UV tanning session in Boulder to help your body make its own Vitamin D. The UV light produced by a tanning bed is just like the one from summer sunlight: about 95% UVA and 5% UVB.