Holding the most appropriate acronym, seasonal affective disorder — SAD for short — is a form of depression that starts to creep up around the beginning of the rainy or cold season and tends to stick until the weather becomes warm again.
People who suffer from this medical condition generally experience a decline in their mood, a lack of interest in daily activities and difficulty getting out of bed. Other symptoms include fatigue, irritability, anxiety, carb cravings, and weight gain.
It is important to understand a bit more about the mood disorder and what triggers it before knowing the best natural remedies for this discombobulation.
Why do people get SAD?
It is believed that SAD occurs as a response to fewer daylight hours and a lack of sunlight, affecting people most during the rainy season or between January and February for Northern hemisphere dwellers.
Studies show that the condition is more common in women than men, affecting those aged between 18 and 30.
Melatonin is the hormone that the body produces when it gets dark. Its role is to induce sleepiness for a good night rest. So, if the rainy season or winter brings more hours of darkness, it can lead to increased production of melatonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that puts people in a good mood. Considering reduced sunlight can cause serotonin levels to fall, it is no surprise that people feel down in the dumps during rainy and cold months.
Exposure to sunlight (or simply daylight) is thought to increase the brain release of serotonin, which can boost the mood and help in feeling calm and focused.
To keep the serotonin levels up and keep the melatonin levels balanced, try to spend enough time outside during the colder months.
Aim to get around 10 to 20 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week every day if possible. Exposure time should depend on how sensitive the skin is to sunlight. To explain, those with darker skin tones may need a bit more time outside.
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