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As the Christmas Carol goes, “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love,” but it is also the time of year when daylight savings time is over, daylight hours are shorter, and many people suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Our body’s circadian rhythm, or its 24 hour internal clock, is by nature in sync with the natural world. When our external clocks are adjusted for daylight savings time - forward or back - it throws our internal clock a space-time curve ball that it may have trouble catching up with. Plus, in many areas of the world winter days are short, limiting our contact with circadian rhythm-regulating sunlight.
When our natural bio-rhythms are off so is our production and release of hormones, and this can affect our energy level, sleep patterns, and mood. Some people will notice symptoms of SAD including irritability, fatigue, feeling “heavy,” sleeping too much, emotional hypersensitivity, appetite changes and weight gain.
The best defense against SAD is a good offense, so do the following to ward off SAD, or to keep symptoms at a minimum.
The holiday season can exacerbate symptoms of depression for some people, too. These six suggestions can also reduce depressive symptoms, or maybe keep them from worsening.
Photo credit: Zach Dischner / flickr
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