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Putting Tanning Beds into a Positive Light

January 2nd, 2012 at 11:38 am

For many, winter is a time of joy. The air is cold and snow is on its way; the holidays line up one after the other, with promises of fun family memories; and children are hoping for a snow day or two.

But for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD, the wintertime has an entirely different meaning. This disorder, which is caused by a Vitamin D deficiency, can cause prolonged, severe, and often debilitating depression throughout the dim days of winter, and there is precious little that can be done to alleviate this.
While there are medications such as Bupropion that have been shown to alleviate some or all of these symptoms, many are reluctant to be on medication, as they feel that they should be able to "shake this off" and return to their normal happy selves. Others worry about becoming dependent on a medication, and prefer more natural methods.

If you fall into this category, you are definitely not alone. Here are three practical things that you can do to help relieve your depression. While the results may not be immediate, you will start to notice a change, especially if you consciously implement these activities into your daily routine.


Due to fears of skin cancer, tanning salons have earned a bad reputation, but this is the first thing that you can do to help with your SAD. Not only will tanning beds provide the Vitamin D that you are lacking from the shorter days and less intense sunlight, but on a more practical level, they provide you with the opportunity to relax and de-stress for a little while, which is always good for those who suffer from SAD. When tanning, be sure to follow the suggestions of the tanning salon, and tan in moderation. If you are unable to find a tanning salon close to you, then you can also buy a light box.


In addition to improving your overall health and increasing your self-confidence—both of which go a long way toward warding off depression—exercise releases endorphins and increases dopamine, which essentially mimics the effects of most antidepressants and helps to alleviate stress and depression. Whether you work out with a certified trainer, or venture into the gym on your own, the key is to get (and stay) active, even after your SAD abates for the year. On a side note, excessive exercise can actually have a detrimental impact on your mental wellbeing, as you will be exhausted and risk the chance of burning out.

Eating Healthy

For many, this is a natural way of life. However, one of the side effects of SAD is a craving for starchy foods in order to increase your energy, which leads to excessive weight gain. This means that, for those who endure SAD, a healthy diet is especially important. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as these are a healthy source of carbs, and lay off of candy, chips, cookies, and other "junk foods." Drink plenty of water and juice and eschew coffee whenever possible. Finally, be sure to take a multivitamin everyday, as this will ensure that your body is getting all of the necessary vitamins and minerals.

The most important thing to remember when you realize that what you thought was simply a case of the winter blues is, in fact, a recognized disorder is that you are not alone. According to FamilyDoctor.org, "between 4% and 6% of people in the US suffer from SAD. Another 10% to 20% may experience a mild form of winter-onset SAD." What this means is that there are plenty of other people who are experiencing what you are experiencing, and you needn't be embarrassed to talk about it with your family and friends, and your doctor. With proper attention, you will find that your symptoms will abate significantly, and things will start to be right in the world again.

2 Responses to “Putting Tanning Beds into a Positive Light”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    To the contrary, beyond destroying vitamin D with too much exposure to UV rays during tanning, tanning bulbs also carry increased risks for other dangers. According to the Mayo Clinic, using tanning bulbs is not any safer than natural sunlight, and can put you at risk for both premature aging, and the development of skin cancer. UVA rays especially can increase your risks of developing melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Good heavens. The NIH page you linked in no way supports your idea that u.v. tanning salons are the first thing you can do to help SAD. Nor the second...third...fourth.... Wrong wave lengths, sir.

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