Do you feel tired, achy, stressed out, too drained to enjoy your day? Well, we’ve all heard of the winter blues – but there’s something more serious than just that old expression, and it’s called SAD. This week we’re considering hibernation and how it affects our bodies.
“Hibernation is a drastic measure to survive winter: At first glance you might think a hibernating animal is dead. The heart is slowed but not stopped and the torpor state can be maintained much longer than is possible with suspended animation.”
I found this quote on Steadyhealth.com. The article discusses that although one of nature’s greatest miracles is hibernation, it’s still a mystery for scientists.
To me it seems that hibernation is more than “a drastic measure to survive winter.” It’s part of an animal’s normal physiology. And it seems that all mammals hibernate to varying degrees. I even think that we go into a hibernating mode each year. Think about it: we become more sleepy, desire heavier food to sturdy ourselves, there’s less energy in the day and the sunlight is continually lacking, so that’s a huge change in our environment.
Just as animals are triggered by the changing seasons and lessening light, we are also affected by the reduced amount of sunshine. Weather can significantly affect people’s moods. Sunlight breaking through clouds can lift our spirits, while a dull and rainy day makes us feel a gloomy.
But here’s where you need to be careful: some people are vulnerable to a type of depression that follows the seasons. For them, the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring. That is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is worth identifying in your own behaviour if the winter blues hits too hard.
Light therapy seems to be one of the best forms of treatment if you are in the hibernating mode. Check on-line for SAD Lamps. That and Vitamin D can help the body shift gears into a more positive perspective, and lightened emotions during the winter.
What have you found to help with your winter blues? Share with the rest of us, we can help each other!
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