Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is considered to be a form of depression. As the sun sets earlier during daylight saving time, many people start to develop the signs of seasonal affective disorder.
Jeff Janata, a professor of psychiatry and the director of psychology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center reportedly said that the symptoms of SAD include irritation, excessive sleeping and loss of interest. Most people with seasonal affective disorder have symptoms that start in the fall and continue into the winter months.
The lower levels of sunlight in the winter and fall, particularly in locations farther from the equator, are the main cause of seasonal affective disorder. This occurs as the change in seasons influence the body's melatonin and serotonin — natural substances that are associated with sleep timing and mood.
"The weeks immediately after the switch to daylight saving time is often the period of time when this emerges," Janata told ABC News. "It's not so much melancholy depression as it is what we think as neurovegetative depression."
According to the National Institutes of Health the symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:
- Having low energy
- Weight gain
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)
Here are few ways in which one can cope with seasonal affective disorder:
- Walk towards the light: Walking outdoors every morning can help people suffering SAD as it is related to a lack of sunlight.
- Take your vitamins: Experts believe that the intake of vitamins, especially vitamin D can help fight fatigue and lack of focus.
- Stay connected: Being in the presence of people and not restricting yourself to indoor activities can help cope with SAD as isolation adds to the feeling of depression.
- Exercise: Getting involved in some fitness activities can help in lifting your spirit.
- Maintain regular schedule: Try to keep a note of the time when you sleep. Maintaining a regular schedule everyday can help with excess sleeping.