Seasonal Depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition that affects more than 3 million U.S Citizens a year, is a subtype of depression that occurs and ends around the same time every year. It often begins in the fall and may continue into the winter months causing fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal. Light therapy (phototherapy) can help but did you know that certain teas can also lift the spirits and reset your mood?
In this article, I share the reasons why certain people experience SAD and 3 brews that can help alleviate the symptoms. Do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to Tea End Blog to be automatically entered in Tea End Blog Give-Aways. Already subscribed? Tell a friend!
Why so SAD?
SAD is actually a very common disorder that affects more than 3 million U.S Citizens a year. There are varying causes for the disorder, but most theories attribute the disorder to the reduction of daylight hours in the winter. The shorter days and reduced sunlight, a wonderful source of Vitamin D, perturbs the internal clock and disrupts the following:
Production of Melatonin | During the dark, your body naturally produces melatonin to help you sleep. Contrarily, during the day, the sun triggers the brain to stop producing melatonin so that you can feel more alert or awake. The winter solstice, with all of its dreary and overcast days, may confuse the body to produce more melatonin than needed which can leave you drowsy with low energy.
Circadian Rhythms | Naturally, your body responds to day and night to create an internal clock or sleep-wake cycle. The long winter nights can disrupt this internal clock leaving you feeling groggy, disoriented and sleepy at times when you should be wide awake.
Production of Serotonin | Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood. The reduced sunlight during winter can lower the body’s production of serotonin which can lead to depression and a lack of sleep, appetite, memory or even sexual desire.
Get glad with tea!
Tea is already perfect for a cold winter day but did you know there are certain teas that can help lift your mood? Here are 3 teas that I recommend for anyone who may need a pick-me-up this winter*:
1. White Tea
White tea is the least processed of all tea types and therefore it has the lowest amount of caffeine and the highest amount of L-theanine. Caffeine can aggravate mood disorders while L-theanine, an amino acid unique to tea, relaxes and soothes. L-theanine alleviates psychological stress and helps maintain normal sleep. I like sipping white teas from the Tao of Tea; recently I purchased their sampler that includes Silver Needles, Imperial White and White Peony.
2. Ashwagandha Root Tea
Withania somnifera, also known more commonly as ashwagandha, calms mental processes, supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality and even fosters healthy sleep patterns. I love the taste of the jasmine blend created by Atman Tea Co.
3. St. John's Wort Tea
St. John’s Wort is a flowering plant that has anti-inflammatory properties that is also known to treat depression in humans and is at times prescribed for mild to moderate depression, especially in children and adolescents. You can take small doses in tea bag form; Buddha’s Herbs actually makes a convenient tea bag ready to brew.
*please consult a health care practitioner to know if St. John’s Wort and Ashwaghanda Root teas are right for you and your condition.
Do you experience SAD or Winter Blues? Explain.