MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Are you feeling low? You may just need a little sunlight. Many people feel sluggish, hungry, tired and depressed this time of year. Your symptoms could all stem from Seasonal Affective Disorder brought on by the weather. We have heard it called the “Winter Blues,” but S.A.D. can happen in the spring and summer months as well.
Dr. Allen Battle, Clinical Psychologist, says, “It isn't a question of the temperature. It's a question of lack of sunshine.”
Lack of sunshine on cloudy days can disrupt levels of melatonin and serotonin in the body. These chemicals are responsible for the feeling of well-being. Dark, gloomy weather can also affect our circadian rhythm. This chemical imbalance can be treated without having to take anti-depressants.
“The treatment of choice is a sun lamp and it has to be a minimum of 10,000 lux,” says Dr. Battle. “It needs to be quite intense.”
Ideally, using a sun lamp for 20 minutes a day can help alleviate the chemical imbalance caused from lack of natural sunlight. You can also try to combat your gloomy mood with a few super foods.
Dr. Battle says, “Interestingly enough, it's been discovered that some foods tend to help a person through it, like cranberries and chocolate.”
Unlike sluggish symptoms in the winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder can have a complete opposite set of symptoms in late summer. Feeling hyper-active and trouble falling asleep are common then.