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Is The Changing of Seasons Bringing You Down? There’s a Surprisingly Simple Solution to That

Sometimes the cold breeze of fall or winter brings a certain kind of cloud to people’s moods. This negative change can affect even those individuals who don’t experience symptoms of mental health issues for the rest of the year.

Fortunately, there are many ways one can keep the blues at bay without having to get medication or go to therapy.

What Is SAD?

People who experience SAD can either begin losing sleep or sleep more than usual

This sudden change in mood is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to MayoClinic, SAD commonly manifests in feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and general discontent.

It can also affect a person’s behavior and habits usually leading one to isolate themselves socially or become irritable. Changes in appetite are another symptom of SAD so sufferers can gain a significant amount of weight suddenly.

Although the disorder typically appears during the changing of the seasons, people can actually experience it after just a few days of rainy weather. Not getting any or enough sunlight for consecutive days can also trigger its symptoms. This means that SAD can also occur during the warmer seasons of summer and spring.

Addressing the Symptoms

Taking a daily 20-minute walk outside in the sunlight is an easy solution to keep SAD at bay

Luckily, SAD is a mild enough condition to not need medication to address it most of the time. Once one begins noticing the telltale symptoms of this seasonal disorder, they are recommended to turn to something called light therapy. Basically, this involves using a specific kind of lamp to mimic sunlight in attempts to combat the downturn in mood caused by gloomy weather or the long winter.

Light therapy is not entirely new. In fact, research about the topic has been done for about 40 years now. A study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal in the 1980s particularly describes how bright artificial light counters depressive symptoms that appear during winter.

This benefit reportedly happens because of the effect that light has on the body’s melatonin production. The hormone is primarily responsible for regulating a person’s sleep-wake cycle and is triggered by darkness. Thus, getting fewer hours of sunlight or daylight can lead to increased production of the hormone.

Finding the Best Anti-SAD Lamp

Some light therapy lamps retail for as little as $30

This said it’s important to know that not every lamp will be effective in facilitating light therapy for SAD. First, experts say that a lamp should at least emit 10,000 lux, which is the equivalent of the sunlight people get when they go out on a particularly sunny day.

Meanwhile, there are also products specifically made to treat SAD and are equipped with helpful features. When buying these, people are recommended to check first if the lamp they’re buying has been clinically tested to get the most out of the product.

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