The cold winter have arrived. If you feel that you have more difficulty sleeping compared to summeror are experiencing symptoms such as low mood, consider if you have undiagnosed SAD.
If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and struggling to get a good night's sleep, the following articles can help you to understand SAD and how to sleep more healthily.
What is SAD (Seasonal Sleep Disorder)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, typically in the winter months. It is thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight, which can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and lead to feelings of sadness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
It is an emotional disorder. Most sufferers are in good health for most of the year but develop symptoms of depression during the winter or summer months. What makes SAD different from depression is that seasonal changes control a person's mood swings.
In most cases, these symptoms are triggered in autumn and winter. One of the main reasons for this is the shorter days. The sun sets earlier and rises later in autumn and winter. This leads to shorter hours of light. Long hours of darkness can hurt the overall mood. This leads to increased feelings of sadness, loneliness, depression, and lack of motivation.
Symptoms usually manifest themselves first in terms of mood and sleep patterns. Lack of sleep or sleep disturbance can exacerbate these symptoms, resulting in a vicious cycle of sadness and exhaustion.
Please check if you have any of the following symptoms.
- Being lethargic, sad, or depressed most of the time
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Low energy and feeling sluggish
- Presence of excessive sleep
- Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, binge eating,and weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of despair, worthlessness, or guilt
Seasonal mood disorders with autumn and winter onset
- Change in appetite with extreme cravings for higher carbohydrate foods
- Weight gain
- Fatigue or low energy
Seasonal mood disorders in spring and summer
- Sleep difficulties (insomnia)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Restlessness or anxiety
- More irritable
- Social Retreat
- Poor academic or work performance
- Drug abuse
- Other mental health problems, such as anxiety or eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
How seasonal affective disorder affects sleep
One way to help alleviate the symptoms of SAD is to get a good night's sleep. Sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health, and it can be particularly beneficial for those with SAD. However, getting quality sleep can be a challenge for those with SAD, as the lack of sunlight can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by sleepiness and a delayed sleep schedule.
If you have SAD, you may have sleep problems. For example, you often feel excessively sleepy during the day or you sleep longer than usual at night. According to studies, people with SAD sleep 2 hours or more per night in winter.
People with SAD also have frequent nightmares. One study found that 16 percent of people with SAD had recurring nightmares. This compares with 2.4% of sleepers without seasonal affective disorder who have frequent nightmares.
Healthy sleep is vital to a person's overall health. Through sleep, we can balance our emotions. Without healthy sleep, there is an increased risk that we will struggle with depression and anxiety.
Common treatments for SAD include light therapy, dawn simulation, and medication.
Light therapy involves exposure to sunlight as well as spending more time outdoors. Dawn simulation involves the use of computer-controlled heliostats to reflect sunlight into the windows of a house or office.
Also, increasing the focus on self-care can help recovery. This feeling of melancholy can be reduced or eliminated by spending time outdoors on sunny days and increasing the amount of time one spends doing physical exercise. It is common, for people to feel low energy, especially in high latitudes.
If the above methods do not resolve your symptoms, cognitive behavioral therapy or antidepressants are also treatment options.
There are several other ways to improve sleep quality for those with SAD:
Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Engaging in activities like reading or listening to soothing music can help relax the mind and body and prepare for sleep.
Avoid screens before bed: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with the quality of sleep.
Consider using a light therapy box: A light therapy box simulates natural sunlight and can help regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
Use drugs: Effective antidepressants, modafinil, vitamin D.
- Use Hybrid Mattress: A soft and comfortable Suilong Hybrid mattress may help you to overcome this sleep disorder better. Hybrid mattresses are a combination of two types of support systems, typically memory foam and innerspring. The memory foam layer provides contouring and pressure relief, while the innerspring layer adds support and bounce. This combination can help to promote proper spinal alignment and alleviate pressure points, leading to more restful sleep.
If you have difficulty falling asleep because of seasonal mood disorders, establishing healthy sleep habits may help. Follow these sleep hygiene tips to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.