Tag Archives: Sad

Winter Sleep (SAD)

sad teenage girl

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also referred to as the “winter blues” in its milder form, impacts roughly half a million individuals each winter, according to Mental Health America. This disorder makes its presence during the months of September through April, but peaks during the winter months of December, January, and February.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

One of the hallmark signs of seasonal affective disorder is winter sleep disturbances. Among feedback from nearly 300 SAD patients, complaints of excessive oversleeping, termed hypersomnia, were made by 80 percent of the respondents, according to a study by researchers at Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital.

Aside from winter sleep hypersomnia, other symptoms of SAD include:

  • excessive morning grogginess (difficulty waking up)
  • difficulty staying awake
  • overeating
  • carbohydrates cravings
  • lack of energy and feeling of lethargy and fatigue
  • withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities
  • decreased sex drive
  • weight gain
  • difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • not completing tasks
  • feeling depressed

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Fighting Winter Depression with Sleep

seasonal affective disorder

I live in New York and right now, the days are abysmally short. It starts getting dark around 4 PM, and that’s about when I start feeling blue. It’s hard to stay upbeat when the weather is so cold and so much of your life is spent under artificial lights. I can only imagine what it must be like in Alaska! Seasonal Affective Disorder runs rampant through the population during the northeast’s winter. In some people, it’s a mild feeling of dysphoria, just feeling down in the dumps. This is called sub-clinical SAD. In others, it’s a full-blown depression—the kind where you can’t get out of bed and can’t find pleasure in normal everyday activities. Severe SAD can be debilitating. Of course, like with most emotional disorders, sleep plays an important role—perhaps more than most in this case, since daylight is so closely linked to circadian rhythms. There’s a spring/summer version of SAD too, characterized by anxiety and restlessness, but we’ll be focusing on the winter variety here.