Being born and raised in Southern California, I absolutely love the sun. Ever since I have moved abroad, I have learned that the lack of exposure to the sun can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which can affect not only one’s health but also mood. Ironically, I actually have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency in all three countries where we have lived.
In Norway and Denmark, day light during the winter may only be a maximum of 6 hours. And those days would be rare anyway because in Scandinavia, during the winter months, most days are grey days, with cloud cover, wind, rain or snow.
In Qatar, vitamin D deficiency is also common because it gets so hot that on some days you barely make it out of the comfort of your air-conditioned room. And if you do, you don’t go outside long enough to benefit from the sun.
In Scandinavia, many are further diagnosed with something known as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Isn’t that just the fitting acronym?! How can vitamin D deficiency be treated? Or what do we do as a family to try to beat the winter blues?
- We have a sun lamp that works as light therapy. (I actually recently saw one at my son’s school as well!)
- Babies and children are advised to take daily vitamin D drops.
- We try to eat food with more vitamin D, such as salmon or milk fortified with vitamin D.
- When the sun is out (which in Denmark seems like maybe once a week), we try to literally soak it up by bundling up and going outside in the sunlight
- And when we get the chance, we travel somewhere sunnier for a couple of days.
Of course, there are dangers of too much sun exposure as well. So, don’t forget your sun screen if out!