Reaching for coffee, chocolate or that favourite comfort food?

As the weather gets darker and days are shorter, we see many patients struggling with low mood, fatigue and difficulty with sleep. After the momentary relief, stimulants and sugar worsen mood and fatigue and trap us in a cycle of dependency. Ready for real solutions? Ones that address the underlying issues?

Here are my top gloomy weather go-to’s:

Acupuncture stimulates release of endorphins boosting mood and improving tolerance to stress. Many patients also experience improved sleep quality and increased energy.

Protein/Carbohydrate Balance: Large fluctuations of blood sugar leads to moodiness and fatigue. To prevent this and boost levels of feel-good serotonin, incorporate protein (such as poultry, fish, egg) with each meal/snack AND include some nutritious carbohydrates such as nuts, whole grains and root vegetables.

Enjoy the outdoors on those rare sunny days! For all other days use bright light therapy to emulate sunlight. Bright light increases serotonin levels enhancing mood. It also improves natural melatonin production particularly beneficial for shift workers and others with sleep difficulty. We like the Litebook Elite as it’s portable and economical, so we’ve arranged for Brio patients to get a discount!

Lastly, you’ve guessed it, Vitamin D.  Sunlight exposure on skin naturally activates Vitamin D having numerous health benefits from boosting energy, lifting mood to heart health and cancer prevention. Vitamin D3 is a convenient option and is well absorbed by the body. 

If you are experiencing low mood, low energy and sleep difficulty this fall, you’re not alone. Our body evolved to and depends on sunlight and the outdoors. However, our modern indoor life limits exposure to sunlight and this is further limited during the cooler and darker days of fall and winter leading to changes including depressed mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a severe form of these winter blues. Research has shown that eyes and skin exposure to sunlight triggers numerous reactions in the body essential for regulating the sleep cycle, maintaining energy, boosting mood, promoting tissue healing and more.

This year, experience a brighter season! Let’s improve productivity and be fully present to enjoy the cozy season!


Dr.Carin Matsushita, ND, RAc.

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