Blue Monday myth
A marketing executive picked today as the perfect gloomy mush of guilt from broken resolutions, debt from Christmas shopping and depressed immunity from lack of sunshine and the relentless cold, damp . But there is a silver lining if you make today an excuse to take an elderly relative or neighbour for a breath of fresh air and daylight – even a cuppa next to the window will help. I was lucky enough to take my 90 year-old Dad for a walk in driving rain. The change in his mood was a delight to see – enough for a month of blue Mondays.
Could sleep deprivation help people with depression?
A fascinating talk by Jen Goldschmied explains her brilliant research that looks at how manipulating slow wave sleep can shine a light on depression – Jen Goldschmied: Can understanding sleep help us understand depression?
Turn that frown upside down!
When we’re feeling down, we tend to be more sensitive to sad faces and negative messages. That takes us down a rabbit hole and it gets harder and harder to climb back out! This tendency is linked to low levels of dopamine in people living with depression, as this article explains.
The good news is that bright light can top up your ‘glass half full’ hormone so you can start to see the silver lining again. Circadian Time of Morning Light Administration and Therapeutic Response in Winter Depression
Down here in Dorset, we’re up to 8 hours 40 minutes today – a gain of 20 minutes in just a week. Even on an overcast day, if you can face the world and step outside, you’ll be rewarded with a mood-boosting hit of over 1,000 lux. 30 minutes before 10am is better than an antidepressant alone, as this paper explains: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31600678/
What’s the best time to get to the gym?
You may be among the millions who signed up for the gym in January. I swim in the sea at first light every morning just to get it out of the way – I know I’ll chicken out otherwise! But if you’re serious about getting fit and avoiding injury, the best time to work out is late afternoon. That’s when growth hormones, muscle and cardiovascular strength, and glucose levels peak. As this article points out, What Science Says About the Best Time of Day to Break an Olympic Record. Sleep is critical too. So get outside for a gentle stroll first thing and leave the heavy lifting for later. This academic review dives into the science a little more… Time of Day and Muscle Strength: A Circadian Output?