Seasonal Affective Disorder and How it Can Affect You

As we approach December, it’s quite easy to sense the brutal winter that we could potentially have. It’s already really hard to get used to the daylight savings and somehow accepting the fact that it becomes dark at like 4 PM. We get tired easily, we want to sleep sooner, and overall just not the situation we enjoy. A lot of times, we take this situation of feeling down and not up to the weather as our way of being lazy and not wanting to do anything, but in reality, it’s a real issue that has a real name. The change in our moods can cause us to have a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (very ironic), commonly known as winter depression.

SAD can primarily suppress melatonin and the regulation of circadian rhythms. Many of the symptoms of SAD are very similar if not identical to depression. We feel tired more easily and less motivated due to the lack of light outdoors, and the light indoors is not good enough. It could potentially make us lazy and we assume that it's because we’re tired of working and tired from long days - but most likely, it can also be SAD. There are many ways to help you get through SAD and make yourself feel better.  

It is important to take care of yourself and be prepared for shorter days and cold weather. This includes starting a morning routine where you wake up a bit earlier than usual, eating right, and staying active. Trying to incorporate being active in your every day routines is ideal. It’s the small changes that have a bigger difference in your lifestyle, ultimately helping you to alleviate the SAD symptoms. 

Another way to help is through light therapy. It uses bright lights such as LED to help with SAD and it mimics the sunlight. This is helpful when it gets dark earlier, and can help with treating SAD. LED light bulbs can be used to replace other types of light bulbs during the winter (and generally are the better option for any time of the year). These bulbs emit a bright white light that is more effective at replacing the daylight from the sun. The most important aspect of LED is the quality of light it has, which comes in different shades such as warm white, cool light, and daylight. These shades of light are known to positively impact your hormones and sleeping patterns and are a very good alternative to the daylight that is wasting away outside. 

The cold weather is enough to make you feel less motivated to do your homework, go to the gym, etc., but making small changes as simple as changing your light bulbs can make a huge difference.