How Seasonal Affective Disorder Disrupts your Sleep

Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise known as SAD) is a form of depression that typically occurs each year around the time when the seasons’ transition. A lot of this is because of the shorter hours of sunlight, which can lead to a hormonal imbalance. This is extremely common in the fall months, and lots of people are finding that their sleep habits are being affected by SAD.

How SAD can affect your sleep

A few of the common symptoms of SAD include mood swings, anxiety, sadness, decreased interest in activities, and social withdrawal. SAD can also affect your sleep in many ways as reduced sunlight can disrupt your biological clock, which in turn can affect your sleep cycle. Many SAD patients find themselves experiencing insomnia or restless nights, or they are sleeping for longer than normal. This can also affect how you function during the daytime and can lead to difficulty concentrating, feeling sluggish or tired, and having low energy.  

How SAD patients can get a better sleep

If your SAD symptoms have reached the point where your mood is down for as much as several days, you have no motivation to do activities you normally enjoy, or your sleep patterns have changed drastically, then you should speak to your doctor for further treatment. They may recommend medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or light therapy.

A few other ways that you can get better sleep without medical intervention include maintaining the practice of good sleeping habits; stick to the same bedtime, keep your bedroom an inviting place to sleep, and limit the use of technology before bedtime. You can also try taking melatonin before bedtime to help reset your sleep cycle. Keeping up with good habits during the daytime, including a healthy diet and exercise, can also be helpful.

Finally, get outside! Go for a walk in the daytime before it gets dark. Getting in some sunlight can be extremely beneficial to your internal clock.

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