The days are getting shorter. Fall has arrived in all its resplendent beauty. While the changing colors are lovely, insufficient daylight may find you down in the dumps and more tired than usual.
The world-renowned Mayo Clinic estimates that ten to twenty percent (and maybe more) of the population suffers from some sort of seasonal depression brought on by shorter days. Some estimates indicate there are millions of North Americans who suffer from a more extreme version of “winter blues” called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
At this stage of the research, the disorder seems to be related to insufficient light and the resulting hormonal disruptions caused by the pineal gland. When the pineal gland believes it is in darkness, it secretes a hormone called melatonin, which has sedative properties.There are numerous symptoms of the winter blues, but the main ones usually appear in the colder season and include:
• Change in appetite, particularly for sweet or starchy foods.
• Weight gain.
• Change in sleep patterns.
• Tendency to oversleep.
• Avoidance of social situations.
• Decreased ability to concentrate.
• Decreased energy.
Whether it is full-blown SAD or a milder case of the seasonal blues, here are tips to help bring some “light” back into your days.