During this time of year, those that live in the United States are accustomed to children preparing for Halloween, and it also serves as a reminder to prepare for daylight savings time.
When the clocks "fall back" a small group of Americans gain an extra hour of sleep causing longer nights and shorter days. Reports of Seasonal Affective Disorder Aka Seasonal Depression and or the "winter blues", appear to rise most around this time of year.
SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder (seasonal depression)
Starts in young adulthood from ages (18-30) and affects women more than men 5.
How does SAD/Seasonal Affective Disorder Aka Seasonal Depression or the "winter blues" occur (etiology)
When there is a reduction of sunlight, melatonin increases. Some of you may take melatonin to aid with your sleepless nights. That's because melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body's sleep cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is produced in your brain and it's the hormone that responds to darkness. 3 When it gets dark your mind naturally prepares your body to rest. Therefore, if it is dark for longer periods of time, naturally your body is reacting to its environment, causing most to be sleepy.
I don't know about you, but when this occurs, I like to stay in bed longer too! (This is a perfect example of how our environment can trigger depression)
In conjunction to the reduction of light, our bodies need sunlight (vitamin D) to activate a chemical known as serotonin. Serotonin carries messages between your brain and throughout your body. Serotonin contributes towards mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, bone health, blood clot and sexual desire. 4
Seems like serotonin is an essential chemical for our bodies to activate at its highest potential. So, how can we combat the loss of Serotonin that is reduced during these shorter days and longer nights?
Best foods to eat to increase your serotonin levels:
Bananas, kiwi, pineapple passion fruit, pomegranates and strawberries
just to name a few, are all great examples of foods/fruits that carry high levels of serotonin. Check out the full list of foods for yourself to serve as an aid in combating the natural reduction of serotonin during daylight savings.2.
Did you notice?
The fruits with the highest levels of serotonin all seem to be tropical fruits. Fruits
that most people in North America enjoy during the summer months.
So, whenever you are feeling the "winter blues" during the colder months, it might be good idea to share a bowl of strawberries to combat your lower serotonin levels.
Don't forget to Journal!
Take notes and keep track of your moods. Even if it's a short entry for the day.
"Dear Diary, I feel blah."
Researchers have confirmed that SAD Aka Seasonal Depression, has to occur
the same time every year for to be classified and or diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder.1. Which means, you can't have one bad season and self-diagnosis yourself. This needs to be a reoccurring thing. If you write down your moods in a journal, diary, notepad whichever you use to record your moods, this can help with tracing your trends in when you suffer from the blues most.
Feel free to order your very own hand wrapped intentional journal here, at our Argh U Mad gift shop.
It is also important to mention SAD/Seasonal Affective Disorder can also occur during the spring and summer months as well. We'll discuss tips on how to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Spring and Summer months when that time of year comes around.
The Good News! This may be the last year for some of us to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder aka seasonal depression here in the US.
A bill was passed on Mach 15,2022 entitled the Sunshine Protection Act
Read up and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Keywords: Seasonal Depressive, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Best foods to eat, Serotonin, Young adults, winter blues, melatonin, journal, SAD
1. Munir S, Abbas M. Seasonal Depressive Disorder. [Updated 2022 Mar 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK568745/
2. Dagnelli, C. (2019, May 8) 18 Foods That Contain Serotonin.Livingstrong.com https://www.livestrong.com/art
3 National Institution of Health (2022, July). Melatonin: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary Health and Integrative Health. Melatonin: What You Need To Know | NCCIH (nih.gov)
4. Serotonin. (2022, March 18). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 24,2022, from Serotonin: What Is It, Function & Levels (clevelandclinic.org)
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder: MedlinePlus Genetics (2019, May 1) NIH. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved October 24, 2022, Seasonal affective disorder: MedlinePlus Genetics
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