• markgeorgy

Beat the winter blues with a ski holiday.

It’s a familiar feeling, the days start to get shorter a little chillier, and it's that much harder to get out of bed for that morning run. Yes, you may be at risk of falling victim to those winter blues, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is estimated to affect 1-10% of the population(1). It’s theorised that the mechanism for SAD is related to a desynchronisation of our biological clock as days get shorter and the sleep wake rhythm. This may be in part due to the over production of SERT a protein that will lead to diminished levels of serotonin and hence depression. Those with SAD may also be suffering from an overproduction of melatonin(2). The hormone that the pineal gland produces in response to darkness and causes sleepiness and lethargy.

Here are some ways to combat those winter blues;

Light therapy

It has been shown that light therapy, having a lamp that you wake up to or sit near for a period of time, can alleviate symptoms. Even better than this, we recommend getting out during your lunch. Take advantage of that precious daylight and go for a walk.(3)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been shown to be reduced in those with affected by SAD (4) and depression. Furthermore, those living 33 degrees north of the equator are not able to produce vitamin D in the winter months. Although evidence is limited, taking in 100,000IU daily before winter sets in might prevent the onset of symptoms.

Exercise

Yes! As it gets tougher in winter, the more important it is to stick to that routine. Serotonin release is increased as a result of exercise, and there is increased activity of serotonergic neurons. In addition, there is an increase in the brain of the serotonin precursor tryptophan that persists after exercise.(6)

Plan a ski holiday

Unsurprisingly, our favourite, author and world renowned psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal recommends planning a holiday to a sunny place in winter. We say do all 4 in a ski trip.

Wish you all a happy winter! If you are interested to join Destination Dental CPD’s event in 2023. Please visit www.destination-cpd.com


  1. Eagles JM, Naji SA, Gray DA, Christie J, Beattie JA. Seasonal affective disorder among primary care consulters in January: prevalence and month by month consultation patterns. J Affect Disord. 1998 Apr;49(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(97)00177-8. PMID: 9574854.

  2. Melrose S. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depress Res Treat. 2015;2015:178564. doi: 10.1155/2015/178564. Epub 2015 Nov 25. PMID: 26688752; PMCID: PMC4673349.

  3. Virk G, Reeves G, Rosenthal NE, Sher L, Postolache TT. Short exposure to light treatment improves depression scores in patients with seasonal affective disorder: A brief report. Int J Disabil Hum Dev. 2009 Jul;8(3):283-286. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2009.8-283. PMID: 20686638; PMCID: PMC2913518.

  4. Melrose S. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depress Res Treat. 2015;2015:178564. doi: 10.1155/2015/178564. Epub 2015 Nov 25. PMID: 26688752; PMCID: PMC4673349.

  5. Jacobs BL, Fornal CA. Activity of serotonergic neurons in behaving animals. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1999 Aug;21(2 Suppl):9S-15S. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(99)00012-3. PMID: 10432483.

  6. Chaouloff F, Laude D, Guezennec Y, Elghozi JL. Motor activity increases tryptophan, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, and homovanillic acid in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid of the conscious rat. J Neurochem. 1986 Apr;46(4):1313-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1986.tb00656.x. PMID: 2419509.



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