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Thread: How to cope with seasonal affective disorder?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    How to cope with seasonal affective disorder?

    So every year in Scotland the same thing happens. It becomes dark when you wake up, it becomes cold, wet and windy. Often its dark all day and you won't see the sun.
    I can't cope with it. I become tired and fuzzy headed all day. I can't intermittant fast because I wake up feeling cold and I'm cold throughout the day. I eat more simply to warm me up and there is always to danger of putting on fat.

    This will be my last year I'm in Scotland but does anyone have advice for coping with winter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I've wondered this and had heard about sun lamps -- never actually looked into getting one, but there's this Seasonal Affective Disorder and Light Box Therapy | Mark's Daily Apple

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    MA, USA
    I've heard wonderful things about sun lamps. Those are probably optimal, but I supplement Vitamin D and that helps me. Last winter, I supplemented about 10,000 IU every day.
    Depression Lies

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    sunshine state
    Those lamps really do work. I definitely have SAD, and i noticed that putting a full spectrum lightbulb in my overhead light helped, too, even though I've read that they aren't as good as the specialty lamps.

    One year I decided to come up with some things to get really excited about during winter. That seemed to help a bit. One year I got really into soup-making and that was what I looked forward to. I think having some things to be excited about (like some kind of outdoor activity like snowshoeing or skiing or something) could be a good way to make the season more bearable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    In the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania!
    Do you have any remaining sunny days left to soak up what you can? Here in PA I undressed to my skivvies today -- in mid October!---and caught some rays for an hour. It is quite mild and in the 60s today. I'm trying to get as much sunshine as I can before the cold dark winter. It hits me hardest by Feb...I think that's when my stores of Vit. D seem to be way down. I agree with supplementing, but I swear it never helps me as much as the real deal. I think more soups is also a great idea...bone broths and really nutrient dense foods to get you through.
    Check out my blog on nature and nurture!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    I use a SAD lite. It cost me 180.00 and it was the best $$ I ever spent. Has kept me off anti depressants in the winter for a couple years now. I need it mid Sept through end of March in Calgary and this year I just started using it (I am in Houston now and didn't use it last year). I believe that my ditching the grains has increased my anxiety and depressive disorders making me need it this winter even down here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Suwanee, GA
    You may want to stop the intermittent fasting during the darker seasons. Your seratonin/melatonin cycle is tightly regulated with your sun exposure and first meal. When the light decreases during the darker months, you might not be giving the system enough stimulus to keep running smoothly if you're also skipping your first meal. I believe I've also heard Chris Kresser recommend this recently, if you're having sleep issues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Southern California
    I've read a lot of articles on SAD that have recommended the use of sun lamps and melatonin. If you can't get one, any bright light source would help, I think, the key is to expose yourself to as much light as you can. You might also want to get vitamins D+E since you won't be getting much from the sun.
    F 28/5'4/100 lbs

    "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    SW England, UK
    A big high-protein/high fat very low carb breakfast helps.

    Maximise exposure to sunlight during the morning.

    Use as little as possible artificial light after sunset (avoid low-energy lightbulbs as they give off blue light which is stimulating).

    Eat most of your carbs during your evening meal, as late as possible, mostly starch/glucose.
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Tucson, Arizona
    Getting my D3 blood level up to 60-80 ng/ml completely eliminated my SAD symptoms when I was living in the Pac NW. I needed to take 8,000 IUs initially to get up to that level. More info at

    Sure wish I had known about D when I lived in Scotland. Over 70% of Scots are d deficient. The latitude is too high to get enough sun.

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