What Does a Change in Weather Mean for Your Mood?
So many people cringe at the thought of Fall and Winter. Is it the Holidays? Why do some people become so reclusive during the cold months? With the weather dramatically changing over the next week you may find yourself opting out of going out with friends and instead of staying in and choosing take out over a fun Friday night out. You're not doing it to be mean or make your friends feel unimportant, you're just not feeling it. Why? Every single year Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects so many people and we don't even realize it's happening. SAD sneaks up on people around October and sometimes it lasts all the way until April. The lack of sunlight during the fall and winter can make our body produce more melatonin, which in turn makes you feel sleepy. You'll start wanting to take some mid-day naps and at that point, your brain begins producing less serotonin which affects your mood, appetite, sleep, and sexual desire. So what happens? We gain weight and get really sad.
According to WEB MD "scientists think that certain hormones made deep in the brain trigger attitude-related changes at certain times of year. Experts believe that SAD may be related to these hormonal changes. One theory is that less sunlight during fall and winter leads to the brain making less serotonin, a chemical linked to brain pathways that regulate mood. When nerve cell pathways in the brain that regulate mood don't function normally, the result can be feelings of depression, along with symptoms of fatigue and weight gain."
SAD is more common in women than men. Many people who suffer from SAD show symptoms that can interfere with relationships and even work. Since we aren't in a country that has plenty of sunshine year round we are all at risk and the good news is that there is a way to overcome SAD! Consider setting a timer so your room lights up when it's time to wake up in the morning. Actively work on your diet, don't let yourself subconsciously carb load for several months. You can always talk to your doctor, if you're more of a do it yourself kind of person and rely on exercise to get your endorphins going, good for you! Remember you aren't alone, seek help if you need it SAD can affect all of us.