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Is Seasonal Depression The Reason You Lay Awake At Night?

Is Seasonal Depression The Reason You Lay Awake At Night?

Some doctors believe lack of sleep could be linked to seasonal depression. Is seasonal depression linked to seasonal affective disorder? Could you have an underlying medical problem that is keeping you up at night?

According to SleepDex, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) happens when the days are short (winter). It’s a depression tied to the increasing darkness or lower Sun in the sky. The pathophysiology is unknown, but it is thought that brain levels of serotonin and melatonin are implicated. Serotonin and melatonin are chemically similar, and derive from the same substrate. Serotonin is thought to be important in making people feel safe and comfortable, and it was once thought that low levels of serotonin cause depression (this theory is no longer accepted, but there is clearly a relationship between serotonin and depression.) Melatonin daily levels vary with daylight and the circadian rhythm. SAD demonstrated neuroendocrine influence and control over seasonal mood and physiology. People with SAD have poor mood, low energy, carbohydrate craving, and difficulty concentrating. These are all symptoms of depression and of sleep deprivation.”

So what does that mean for people who suffer from seasonal depression? Is SAD a type of depression or a sleep disorder? According to science, it could be both.

According to brain studies, on Sleep in fall/winter seasonal affective disorder: effects of light and changing seasons, “Daily circadian rhythms are closely tied to the sleep- wake cycle, but SAD shows an example of another natural cycle that affects sleep. You might call these circannual rhythms. In some animals, circannual signals such as temperature and rain patterns can trigger physiological changes. The light levels and position of the Sun in the sky are among those proximal cues. The severity of the depression is usually mild or moderate.”

Which means that if you have seasonal depression or SAD it’s worth talking to a physician. Your restless sleep or fatigue or symptoms that mimic insomnia could be due to an underlying medical issue that can only be treated with therapy.



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  • Romell Bhaala