Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) affects over 11 million people in the USA and more than 264 million people globally? It’s four times more likely in women, more profound for those living in the North than in the South and can also be felt by some in the spring.
Read on to learn more about S.A.D., its effects on the body and how adding CBD to your daily routine can help manage the symptoms of S.A.D..
End of Summer blues
As summer ends, you’re probably dreading the shorter days and your body is already missing the sunlight. Many of us find it harder to wake up in the morning during this time and concentration or focus can become difficult. Shorter days can give us lots of excuses to stop being active. For some of us, in the fall our day starts before the sun rises and by the time our work day is over so is the sunlight. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone!
Our internal body clock is very much affected by sunlight. As we move into the fall and winter, our bodies tend to get less sunlight, which some studies suggest can result in less serotonin, a hormone that helps regulate our mood. Other studies suggest it’s possible that our bodies produce more natural melatonin during this time, making us feel sleepy. This reduction in sunlight and increase in melatonin may cause a form of depression known as S.A.D.
Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer?
Many people that suffer with S.A.D. in the fall and winter notice an increase in appetite. Especially craving carbohydrates and or sweets (so it’s not just that you love Halloween candy!). Those with fall/winter S.A.D. may sleep more and feel like hibernating. You may withdraw from social activities that you normally enjoy. You may feel fatigue and apathetic. Those that experience SAD in the spring and summer may experience insomnia, a loss of appetite, anxiety and irritability.
In moderate to extreme cases thoughts of suicide may be possible. If you feel suicidal, reach out immediately to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HELLO to 741741. Someone is always available to speak with you!
What can I do?
There are some simple things you can do to offset the symptoms of SAD.
- Get more sunlight by spending more time outside during the day and if possible, try to move your work area close to a window. Light therapy for as little as 20 minutes a day can also bring relief.
- Improve sleep patterns by trying to stay on a schedule. Sleeping in can impact your sleep patterns.
- Exercise and stay active. Regular exercise can increase serotonin levels, for example, walking just 30 minutes a day can naturally boost your serotonin levels.
- Try adding CBD to your daily routine to boost your natural reserves of endocannabinoids (like adding Vitamin C to your diet to boost immunity during a cold). CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It plays a role in keeping our body in homeostasis or a balanced state when it encounters environmental changes. CBD products with specific natural terpenes can give you the boost you need in the morning or before exercising, while CBD with other terpenes can help you relax and improve your sleep.
You can read more about the many benefits of Terpenes by reading our previous blog How Effective are Terpenes When Taking CBD?.