Contributed by Antoine T.

Each winter my mood changes.  I am less active, want to sleep more and am less inclined to be social.  It comes with the early nightfall and cold temperatures.  I go to work when it is dark out and arrive home in the dark.  Not seeing the sun makes me feel like I am living in a dark cave. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more women than men and creates a strong craving for carbohydrates.  People with SAD tend to eat more pasta, potatoes and bread during the winter month leading to more sluggishness and weight gain.

SAD is believed to be caused by a desynchronization of our internal clock (circadian rhythms).  There are a few methods that have been tested that can help you overcome SAD.

  • Travel to a warmer climate. Spending time in a warmer sunnier climate for a couple of weeks can help expose you to the light you need to change your mood.  If you are able to vacation during this time, that’s great.  But there are some less expensive options as well.
  • Light boxes. They come in two colors: white and blue.  They are not the ordinary light boxes you use for art purposes.  It is also not the same as laying in a tanning bed or spending time in front of a light bulb.  These boxes are specially designed to treat SAD. There are a few scams out there so be sure to research what would work best for you.
  • Dawn simulator. This is can best be described as a light alarm clock.  You set it to the time you want to wake up and it gradually fills the room with light.  Even though you are sleeping, you are aware of the light.  It also prevents you from waking up to complete darkness, which in itself can be depressing.
  • Anti-depressants.  As can be expected, antidepressants work on the depression that can come from seasonal changes.
  • Behavioral therapy.  Learning how to handle mood changes and depression also helps with SAD.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about how you are feeling so they can help you live with SAD.

How do you deal with the Winter Blues?