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Don't Let SAD Get the Better of You

HealthDay News
by -- Steven Reinberg
Updated: Oct 13th 2019

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SUNDAY, Oct. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you suffer from the winter blues, there are things you can do to make the season less depressing.

Clinically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it happens when there is less sunlight during the day, according to Jeannie Larson, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing.

Less sunlight may affect your serotonin level, which affects your mood, and lower levels of serotonin are linked to depression, she said in a university news release.

About 10% of people living in northern areas experience SAD. That's about 5% of the population of the United States, Larson said. SAD is more common among women, and starts in one's 20s and 30s.

SAD can make you depressed, anxious and moody. It can also cause sleep and eating problems. You may sleep too much or too little, or gain weight. And you may feel too tired to carry out normal routines. People suffering from SAD also may avoid socializing and lose their sex drive.

To combat SAD, Larson recommends spending 30 minutes outdoors every day.

More information

For more on SAD, head to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.