Summer Sun To Combat Seasonal Depression
How high is the risk of vitamin D deficiency?Conservative figures point to 75% of the general population being at risk – that is 3 out of every 4 – while it is estimated that the elderly may be even more deficient because of aging and the fact that they tend to spend more time indoors. Even with the same sun exposure, those over the age of 70 produce 30% less vitamin D than younger people. Children too have also been found to be deficient in high numbers.
What happens when we store vitamin D in the summerAn adequate summer reserve of vitamin D helps the body maintain higher levels of serotonin which in turn helps to ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD) months later when winter arrives. While it was already well known that seasonal depression could be improved by sunlight exposure, it is now known that those benefits can be saved up for a rainy day (or a winter season).
What is the difference between seratonin and melatonin?
Melatonin is the sleep hormone (ensuring a good night's sleep) while serotonin is the hormone associated with wakefulness and elevated mood. They are actually completely opposite.
Serotonin levels increase when you’re exposed to bright light - including sunlight - and this is a major reason why moods tend to be more elevated during the summer.
Mainstream solutions for depression
Serotonin is the hormone that forms the basis of many anti-depressant drugs, working to help naturally-produced-serotonin stay in the bloodstream longer while keeping the mood and energy levels higher.
Another solution is bright-light therapy which can lead to quick benefits for people suffering with depression or SAD.