Why Mood is Affected by Less Sunlight & What to do About it

Even though spring is on the way, we are still dealing with our shorter, darker winter days. More darkness. Less sunlight. 

Although I don’t mind winter, the turning inward, the quiet, the darkness, around this time every year my body and mood start responding to the long winter. Even if my introvert self likes the season, my body is ready for the sun. Ready to be outside again. Ready for longer, brighter days.

Here’s the deal…sunlight stimulates cells in your eye that connect to your brain. The part of your brain it affects is known as the “master clock.” This master clock coordinates the biological rhythms in our bodies. This includes sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, neurotransmitter production, digestion, body temperature, and a host of other important bodily functions.

Things can really get thrown off in the winter when we have less sun.

For instance, at this time of year we produce less serotonin—one of our brain chemicals that affects mood and energy levels. Also when there is less light, we produce more melatonin, and this can make you feel groggy and fatigued, even as early as 4:00 PM in the winter! If that wasn’t bad enough, you are also getting less vitamin D as this comes from sun exposure. Low vitamin D for some people can cause feelings of depression. Fortunately, you can help yourself escape the darkness. 

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Cook This: Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash.

From gracelaced.com’s post on the same dish! Farro is a grain that is common in Italian restaurants and delis. You can find it here in the health food store and occasionally at restaurants- here in Portland, anyway. The grain is a bit nutty and is related very closely to wheat. It is not a gluten-free grain but it does vary from wheat enough that for...

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Upcoming Lectures at New Seasons Market

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