It’s officially autumn and right now, even the weather in Atlanta agrees! These are beautiful days with crystal clear azure skies, stunning foliage on our abundant tree canopy. A great time for hikes, sweaters, warm drinks, evening fires, allergies and colds. Ooof! That took a dark turn. Sorry, but we’re mainly here to keep you healthy so you can enjoy all those fun things at the beginning of that list! Here’s some helpful hints to get you through autumn and the rest of the year feeling energized and happy:

Protect that mucosal lining. As the air cools and becomes drier, often the mucosal lining of your mouth, throat, nose, and eyes becomes drier, too. When it’s too dry in there, the tissues become inflamed and swollen. That leads to unpleasant things like runny or stuffy nose, raw or sore throat, irritated or watery eyes and sometimes acute illness. The easiest way to keep those tissues in a healthy state is to drink lots of water. In cooler weather it can be hard to remember to stay hydrated, but it’s important so drink up! You may also require a humidifier in your bedroom at night, depending on the quality of the air in your bedroom.

Keep those circadian rhythms in check. As our hemisphere angles away from the sun, resulting in fewer hours of sunlight each day, our sleep cycles can become confused. Maybe you feel sleepy during the day, or perhaps you find you don’t sleep as well at night. For both sides of that spectrum, and everything in between, there are two helpful solutions. First, get plenty of exercise! Even if that means just a 30-minute walk each day will help the body feel more energy during waking hours, and improve sleep quality at night. Plus, we’re already talked about how a walk like that can increase immune response. Whatever movement you enjoy, be sure to engage it daily. Part two of this one is to get as much sunlight as you can during the day. If you can you do your exercise outside that’s your proverbial two birds. If you’re more of an indoor exerciser, try to find 15 or so minutes of sunshine each day. Got a lunch break? Can you go sit outside while you eat? Do it! It will increase your vitamin D levels (more on this in a minute) but it also increases your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone associated with upbeat and positive feelings; it’s an important one for feeling energized and motivated. So let the sun shine in!

Keep vitamin D levels up and functioning. As we lose our hours of sunlight, sometimes we also lose our healthy levels of vitamin D, a key vitamin in immune health. To insure that your levels are up where they need to be, follow the advice above and get some sunlight when you can, but when it’s cold out, our skin is usually covered so you may need a little help in this arena. First of all, you want to be sure you’re actually getting plenty of the fat soluble vitamins in your daily diet, especially vitamin A, to insure the vitamin D in your system can do its thing. Real butter from grass-fed cows is a great source for that, as are organ meats, and fatty fish. To find out if a vitamin D supplement is right for you, come in for a Nutrition Response Testing check-up and we’ll check not only if you need that (or essential fatty acids or calcium instead), but which one works best for your body’s needs.

You stay health, Atlanta, and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces in our office!