How to cope if you’re suffering from SAD this winter
Sad is one thing – but SAD is quite another, and tends to hit many of us in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterised by a significant drop in mood, lack of energy, sadness and sleepiness during the colder months.
Scientists have now discovered that it;’s triggered by a lack of daylight, with the eye failing to send effective ‘wake up’ messages to the brain, due to low light levels. Currently, it’s estimated that SAD affects around 3 in 100 people in the UK.
“Many of us may experience a lack of energy, low mood and change in sleeping patterns during the winter – especially after the clocks change. If these changes interfere with your everyday life you may have seasonal affective disorder,” explains Fatmata Kamara, Mental Health Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK.
“SAD is often confused with periods of low mood or energy that many experience solely during the winter months – also known as ‘winter blues’”, she explains, “but SAD is linked to reduced hours of sunlight in the shorter and darker winter months. This can affect your body’s internal clock, disrupting your usual sleep pattern.
“Reduced sunlight has been linked to a drop in serotonin levels (a hormone that stabilises mood and wellbeing) and an increase in melatonin (a hormone which regulates sleep cycles). Changes to these hormones can also trigger feelings of depression.”