Autumn Is Upon Us

Autumn is upon us. Although we are used to not having wall-to-wall sunshine even in summer, having shorter daylight hours can have an impact on our health.

Vitamin D is essential to build and strong bones. Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D (made in the skin with exposure to UV rays from the sun). In summer, the challenge lies in getting the right amount of sun exposure for vitamin D without riskining sun damage and skin cancer. In the autumal and winter months, getting enough sun exposure is the problem. Between October and end of March, it is reccomended that people in the UK consider taking a vitamin supplement of 10 micrograms a day. Vitamin D is also present in foods like oily fishes and egg yolks.

With dark, dull days, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and its milder variants of winter blues are very real to some people. Recognizing the problem is the important first step. Low energy, fatigue, lacking drive and motivation and low moods are classical symptoms. Some of the things known to help with this class of mood disturbances include exercise, keeping busy, improving the diet by avoiding high GI carbohydrates (such as white bread), meditation, and getting more light (!) by organising your schedule to be outdoors during the short daylight hours. Special light fixtures for SAD  are available in the market. It may be useful to talk to professionals for both diagnosis and managment.

A final thing to be aware of is that artificial heating is dehydrating. Add to that our tendency to drink less water in cold weather and dry skin can be a problem. So its important to stay well hydrated and not just with tea and coffee or alcohol. 

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