The cool crisp air and colorful leaves dancing in the air are welcoming signs of Fall. Yet, our circadian rhythms also recognize this as the beginning of Seasonal Affective Disorder season, which runs through the onset of Spring. Seems more night sleepers versus mid-day or morning hours sleepers suffer from this seasonal disorder. Not to sound sexist, but S.A.D. is more prominent in women.
Studies of people age 25-74 found the following symptoms prominent in people suffering from depressive disorders and Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.
1. Depressive Mood
4. Hypersomnia (Sleeping longer hours or during your normal waking hours)
5. Weight gain
The myth about latitude affecting the frequency of S.A.D. remains a myth. However, differences in city and rural dwellers were noted in their sleep patterns and S.A.D. symptoms. The urban nighttime sleepers and the rural morning sleepers were the most affected by S.A.D.
Good news! When the tulips start popping up your symptoms will lessen, but until then, phototherapy, regular exercise, and a stricter sleep schedule will aid in lessening the effects of S.A.D.
If anyone is using artificial phototherapy, please send me note and share your results.