“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.” — Ben Aaronovitch,
As the days grow shorter and darker do you find that your energy level drops as well. Are you only feeling depressed during the dark winter days? Do notice any of the following changes in your mood or lifestyle?
- Do you find yourself waking up fatigued, even though you had plenty of sleep?
- Do you feel sluggish and low through the day- like you just cant wake up?
- Do you find it difficult to focus?
- Do you find yourself reaching for those high carbohydrate foods that are causing you to gain a few unwanted pounds?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then you may be suffering from the “Winter Blues” or what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
While no one knows the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder, some researches have found clues that may attribute to it.
Circadian Rhythm – is your internal biological clock. It naturally regulates your sleep wake cycles. When something in the environment throws off our circadian rhythm, we begin to feel sluggish and depressed.
Melatonin – is a hormone that your body produces so that you will feel drowsy and want to sleep. Darkness is a natural trigger that your body uses to signal the release of melatonin into your system. The prolonged nights may be cause of increased melatonin and the feeling you have when you just cant wake up in the morning.
There is no known cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, researchers have discovered a few things you can do to help manage or even reduce the symptoms.
Exposure to sunlight. It is important to get outside every day. People who get out for even a short walk everyday find that it improves their mood during the winter months.
Light exposure therapy. It has been noted that using electric lights that emulate natural sunlight, with the natural spectrum found in sunlight, are very useful for some people. Some suggest that the most beneficial light therapy is a sunrise setting. The light is programed to gently mimic a sunrise.
Psychotherapy. Talking with a therapist to help you understand your own views about yourself and your environment is also very helpful. With the stress that the “Winter Blues” puts on us, it good to have someone help you set you thinking in healthy and productive ways.
Often people find it helpful to begin treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder before the days shorten and the symptoms appear. Others may desire to use treatment throughout the year.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, don’t hesitate, reach out for help today.