Adequate daylight helps prevent winter depression
December 21st is the winter solstice and the days are finally getting longer. In the darkest time of the year, our body also changes. We eat differently, have a greater need to sleep and our mood is also affected. The main reason for this is the lack of light. As a result, the body releases more melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, which is produced in the pineal gland and controls the day-night rhythm of the human body. At the same time, fewer endorphins are released, which makes us melancholic and lacking in energy.
Lots of fresh air can help To stay fit during this time, you should spend as much time outdoors as possible. Til Roenneberg, professor at the Institute for Medical Psychology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, explains that “there are no longer enough outside and no longer receive enough natural light go, ”continued the doctor. Long walks in the fresh air help the body to become active. Even when it is cloudy outside and snowing a little, the light under the open sky is more intense than when we take in the few rays of light inside. Lamp light reaches a maximum of 500 lux. Even on gray winter days with little sun, values of 7000 lux are reached.
Staying outdoors is not only good for our psyche, it also means that we can sleep better in the evening. Roenneberg quietly recommends the body's needs to add sleep and rest in winter. “You eat more carbohydrates in winter and more proteins in summer. So the fact that we bake Christmas cookies may not only have traditional reasons, they are quick energy foods. "
Women affected more often The current "Stay relaxed, Germany!" From the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) on this topic has shown that in every fourth German (23 percent) winter hits the temper and leads to a "winter blues". But there are clear gender differences. Trends were observed in every third woman, whereas only every sixth man suffers. The study also showed that rural people seem to suffer more from the gray season than people in the big city. Stress can also increase your susceptibility to winter blues. At least one in five stated this in the TK study.
For some people, winter hits people so badly that winter or lack of light can develop. Experts estimate that this should be the case for two to five percent of Germans. The disease, which is also known as seasonal or seasonal depression (SAD) in psychiatric circles, is characterized by a seasonal change in mood and activity. Increasing mood swings, reduced energy, increased fatigue, increased need for sleep and increased appetite are often mentioned as symptoms by those affected.
St. John's wort for winter depression If you don't have enough time for a walk, you can do something about your lethargy with some antidepressant herbal medicines that have now been recognized by science. St. John's wort is thought to have a beneficial effect, especially for mild depression and especially in winter. However, even with herbal remedies, the use should only be made in consultation with a doctor, not because of possible side effects, but because of the incalculable risks of non-medical monitored therapy. This is especially true for depression. (fr)
Credit: Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt / pixelio.de