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If colder temperatures and shorter days leave you or your child feeling sad or tired, consider this: More than 36 million American kids and adults suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition causing depression, fatigue, and loss of energy during the winter months. Here, three natural possibilities to discuss with your doctor, from Joseph Garbely, an osteopathic doctor and psychiatrist at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia:

Vitamin D Research has linked deficiencies of the vitamin with negative seasonal mood changes. “Adults can supplement with 500 IU of vitamin D daily,” Garbely says. The same amount should work for your child, too, but check with her pediatrician first.

Air ionization Summer air contains more mood-boosting ions than winter air, but you can mimic warm weather conditions even when the temperature turns frigid with a negative air ionizer. A type of air purifier, an air ionizer puts charged particles into your environment while you sleep, and has been shown to improve seasonal depression by more than 40 percent, according to a 2006 Columbia University study.

Dawn light Exposure to early morning sun puts hormones in sync with your sleep-wake cycle, setting the tone for a better mood. Thirty minutes spent outside within the first two hours of waking should do the trick, Garbeley says. Just remember to bundle up!

Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

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