Blue Monday 2018: FIVE ways to beat January blues on the most depressing day of the year

Blue Monday is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, as the Christmas and new year festivities seem like a distant memory.

The winter months can be particularly difficult for patients of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to Silentnight’s sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan.

SAD affects about one in every 15 people, and is characterised by a persistent low mood, irritability and feeling less sleepy during the day.

The condition is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, according to the NHS.

Here’s Ramlakhan’s top five tips to beat the January blues.

Exercise

“During the winter, people are often less motivated to exercise, but it's crucial to keep moving if you want to boost your mood,” said Ramlakhan.

“Exercise reduces stress hormone levels and will give you a clearer and more positive outlook on life; it also enables you to sleep more deeply which will make you better prepared for the day ahead.”

Get outside

Sunlight can boost the amount of “the happy hormone” serotonin in the body, said Ramlakhan. 

During the winter months, the amount of serotonin in the body can dip due to shorter days, so it’s important to get out of the house as much as possible.

“Even just half an hour on your lunch break will make a difference, or kill two birds with one stone and exercise outside; getting as much light as possible will help to reset the body’s circadian rhythm.”

Eat right

Eating foods that promote serotonin production could help to beat the January blues, the sleep expert claimed.

“The winter leaves many of us craving starchy carbohydrates and while these are a vital part of any diet, it’s important to strike a balance.

“If you need a snack fill up on foods like walnuts, bananas and tomatoes; they all help your body to produce serotonin and will lift your mood.

“Diet also plays a significant role in the quality of sleep we have. It’s best to avoid having a heavy meal before bedtime. If you often wake up in the night feeling hungry then try having a little snack before bedtime.”

Have a nap

While having a prolonged sleep isn’t advised, a quick power nap could help to relieve some of the symptoms of SAD, said Ramlakhan.

“Naps should be between 10 and 20 minutes, and be taken when you start to feel sleepy or find yourself losing concentration.

“Many people have a natural dip in energy levels around 3pm - making it the ideal time.”

Be tech smart

Being constantly connected to technology could negatively impact your mood.

Switching off the evenings was key to beating the January blues, Ramlakhan said.

“Avoid social media accounts and emails for 90 minutes before bedtime.

“Instead read a book, listen to relaxing music and have a bath using relaxing essential oils.

“A regular wind down routine like this will reduce feelings of anxiety and allow your mind to relax; making sure you get a good night’s sleep and preparing you for the day ahead.”



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