Is winter depression just a nocebo effect or are those winter blues real?
We all complain during the darker period of the year about tiredness, feeling moody or depressed. Especially after two months of cold weather and nothing to look forward to, except for some more months of darkness and cold weather. It’s a phenomenon which is easy to explain: a lack of light! In the summer the days are longer, the light is brighter and nights are shorter but, in the winter, we usually spend our time inside a warm home or office which are usually insufficiently lit.
A short explanation: In autumn we have to deal with a changing day length, we get short stretches of daylight and early sunsets. You spend less time outside and this means a lack of Good Light (daylight). This disrupts your biological clock. Lucky for us, it’s easy to avoid a winter depression, go outside and enjoy daylight!
Light has a huge effect on our health and mental wellbeing. Good Light is as important as Good Food, Good Air and Exercise. Good Light makes you feel energetic, alert, concentrated and it synchronized your biological clock, is responsible for your day-night rhythm and it improves your sleep. So, you will feel less moody and more energized.
Why the light inside isn’t good enough is because daylight is ten to hundred times brighter than most lightbulbs and at sunset daylight softens and is dominated by orange and red (which naturally relaxes us).
So, go outside!