How to Cope with Less Daylight

By Eric Endlich, PhD

Unless you live near the equator, you experience fewer daylight hours in the winter, which can mean difficulties with sleep, energy and mood. What strategies work best?

Stay physically active — especially early in the day and outdoors, if possible.

Consider checking your vitamin D levels. With less sunlight, your body may not be making enough of this key nutrient.

Light it up. Sit near a window or add artificial sunlight with a full-spectrum lamp. Maintain a healthy diet. Resist the temptation to eat more carbs or sweets, or to use more caffeine or alcohol.

Get out of town. If you have the chance to take a break in a sunnier climate, it may reinvigorate you.

If you are still struggling to adjust, consult your health care provider about other possible treatments. Also ask about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which occurs in winter. 

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