As we turned our clocks back last Sunday, we may be gaining an hour of sleep, but we’re also losing an hour of daylight. With the days growing shorter, it may not be long before you’ll feel like you haven’t seen the sun in forever. A lack of sunshine means that you may not be getting enough vitamin D, which is essential for sufficient calcium, bone health, and a strong immune system. All of these are critical as we head into cold and flu season.
So what can you do when your exposure to sunlight is restricted in fall and winter? Here are some ways to get this critical vitamin throughout the shortened days:
As long as the weather permits, be sure you take breaks throughout the day and step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And don’t eat lunch at your desk! Spend your lunch hour on a walk around the park, or even just a walk to and from a café.
While not many foods contain vitamin D naturally, there are a few that can help you get your daily dose:
Be aware, though, that many nutritionists do not believe you can get the full recommended daily dose of vitamin D through diet alone. The best way to get your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is to expose your skin to direct sunlight.
The time change can throw your internal clock and circadian rhythms out of whack. Need some tips for a good night’s rest? Try these:
- Turn off all screens an hour before you go to bed.
- Avoid eating and drinking late at night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- And get up at the same time too (no sleeping in on weekends!).
- Make sure your bedroom is dark.
- Spend time outdoors in the sunshine. (Double benefit!)
- Get regular exercise.
- Cut back on sugar.
- Don’t hit the snooze button.