It’s Fall Y’all! Well, it almost is. We are on the cusp of being done with our summer season. In just a few short weeks we will pass the date that marks the beginning of pumpkin spice everything, golden hued wreaths being sold in the store and of course the plethora of Halloween paraphernalia. But how does the season change affect the residents of Southern California? For awhile we may not see any significant changes to our weather systems for quite some time. But this is the time to have an eye out for the effects of seasonal affective disorder otherwise known as SAD.
SAD is a type of depression that has links to the changes of the seasons. During the fall and winter seasons, the sun is out for less time during our waking hours. This shift can upset our biological clocks which affect our sleep and the production of serotonin in our brains. SAD usually shows the symptoms of listlessness, hunger for more carbohydrates, less interest in normal activities and problems with your relationships.
Now I know what you may be thinking, that in sunny Southern California there is no way that someone would suffer from SAD. We have the sunshine all year long. And where this is true, we do have more sun than many other states that does not mean that we can discount SAD. In fact, because people suffering from SAD are living in Southern California, they may be more likely not to seek treatment because they do not recognize what they are actually suffering from.
If you think that you are suffering or have suffered from SAD in the past, please talk to your doctor. There are a variety of treatments that can help alleviate the strain of this disorder and help you maintain a healthy emotional outlook.
The longer I live, the surer I am that life is about trying to find a balance. Of course, sometimes balance can be defined as the split second that a pendulum swinging from side to side hits the equilibrium and then passes it to keep swinging. But regardless, I do feel like it is a worthy aspiration. Today, we will be looking at the benefits of spending time in the sun. A lot of the messaging that we hear today will point out the evils of the sun and sun exposure leads to skin cancer. I am in no way am I trying to deny this fact. But I do think there is a balance in finding the benefits of being in the sun and also appropriately not over doing our sun time.
Sun exposure helps with mild depression. Most of us have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This type of depression comes from a sunlight deprivation. Some reasonable time in the sun helps release serotonin which helps you fight off the blues. Also being in the sun can help regulate your sleep. When you spend a proper amount of time in the sun, and then it sets, that will signal the brain to start to release melatonin which helps us sleep.
A new study by the University of Edinburgh is showing that time in the sun can lower blood pressure. Having lower blood pressure can help you live a longer life as well as reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Sun exposure can also contribute to bone health and help improve brain function. Both of these health benefits come from the production of Vitamin D which is produced in the body through sun exposure.
Again, let us stress that we are not promoting a sun-fest binge that will leave you lobster red and very sore. But instead, in finding a balance between sun exposure and protection you might be helping yourself live a mentally, physically and emotionally healthier life.
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