As temperatures drop and daylight hours get shorter, some of us may find ourselves experiencing sudden feelings of sadness. Did you know that there is an explanation for these winter blues? Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression related to a lack of sunlight. The fall and winter seasons are usually when it happens. As many as one in six people suffer from SAD.

Lack of sunlight can influence hormones in the body that affect mood and sleep patterns. This disruption can contribute to feelings of depression, irritability, and general tiredness or low energy. Studies have also shown that there may be a link between Vitamin D deficiency and SAD. In addition to getting it from one’s diet, the body also produces vitamin D through regular exposure of bare skin to sunlight. This is less likely to happen during the winter months, when sunny days are scarce and people spend more time indoors.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden changes in appetite
  • Oversleeping
  • Anxiety.

These symptoms have the potential to negatively affect your health, relationships, and productivity at work.

If you find yourself feeling the blues for days at a time you may want to reach out to a professional for additional support. Read further for tips on how to reduce symptoms.

Here are some tips on how to reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule
  • Don’t sit in dark rooms. Keep your blinds open and let what little sunlight there is in
  • Keep connected with family and friends. Avoid isolating yourself
  • Exercise. It can boost hormones that help you feel happy
  • Journal. It can help you pin point what might be triggering your depression

For more details visit Resources to Recover

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Mental Health America, Vitamin D Council, Resources to Recover. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.