Seasonal Depression/Well Being
I’ve spoken about this before, and I’m speaking to it again because it’s so powerful. When fall comes around the corner everyone is excited to dress up in their cooler fall clothing - I see all of you out there looking great in your sweaters!
But the daylight hours also start to wane. You can feel the cool weather set in and people start staying indoors more. Some of us spend less time out meeting and connecting with people. On top of this the amount of sunlight we’re exposed to drops drastically.
All of these factors start to play into the onset of seasonal depression - also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is so common among people that “About 5% of adults in the U.S experience SAD.” Especially for women. “About 10% to 20% of people in America may get a milder form of the winter blues.” (Article 1.)
It’s normal to feel a little sadder during the winter months, “but full SAD goes beyond this. It’s a form of depression. Unlike the winter blues, SAD affects your daily life, including how you feel and think.” (Article 1.)
Symptoms can include:
Increase in sadness - feeling worthless & hopeless
Lack of energy
Loss of interest in normal passions
What is going on in your body when Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in?
Biological clock change: This internal clock regulates your mood, sleep and hormones.
Brain chemical imbalance: Sunlight helps regulate serotonin, a lack of sunlight in the winter can make the situation worse. Serotonin levels can fall further, leading to depression.
Vitamin D deficiency: Since sunlight helps produce vitamin D, less sun in the winter can lead to a vitamin D deficiency which drops serotonin levels.
Melatonin boost: Melatonin is a chemical that affects your sleep patterns and mood. The lack of sunlight may stimulate an overproduction of melatonin in some people.
Negative thoughts: People with SAD often have stress, anxiety and negative thoughts about the winter.
*Information referenced from Article 1.*
Who is more likely to have Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Younger individuals & women tend to experience SAD at higher rates. It may also be heightened by (Referenced from Article 1.):
Having another mood disorder
If depression runs in your family
You live in areas that experience less sunlight during the winter - especially the further North of the equator
Live in cloudy regions
How does Light Therapy help with SAD?
Light therapy helps to soothe and calm the mind down. During a light therapy session your body interacts with the different wavelengths of light and devotes its energy to circulation, ATP production, and cellular healing. While the body is at work, this process naturally calms the brain down. When the seasonal blues hit, the wavelengths help you to naturally regulate your own moods and body better.
Light therapy also helps to regulate blood flow to areas of the brain like the hypothalamus which regulates your hormones, and the amygdala which is considered part of your “emotional brain.”
All of these subtle pieces fold together to help our kids take better care of their bodies and natural processes so they can go to school this season and take care of the important things!
What does the science say?
“Infrared light reduced the risk of SAD by 50% compared with no light therapy.” (Article 2.)
“BLT [bright light therapy] is now widely considered the first-line treatment of SAD.
Specifically, two meta-analyses of eight randomized blinded and controlled studies were consistent in demonstrating that BLT showed efficacy in treatment of SAD when compared to a control condition.” (Article 3.)
“BLT is an increasingly promising treatment option, particularly for those disorders that show seasonal variation in symptoms, delayed circadian phase, and depressive symptoms.” (Article 3.)
There are currently more studies that are being performed with larger sample sizes. As more information comes out, I will pull this into the work and knowledge I have for you!
If you’re starting to feel the creep of seasonal depression, or if you know that it’s something that will come up for you as the days wane, then let’s start talking about how we can improve your life over the course of this year's fall and winter months!
Call me at 720-219-2990 and let's talk more.
If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at Lisa@lightmattersinfo.com - thank you for reading!
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Here are the articles I've referenced above:
Article 2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26558494/
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