As the days get darker, it is important to make sure you are getting enough light. Lack of daylight can contribute to winter blues, with some suffers developing Seasonal Affective Disorder. The symptoms of this are similar but sometimes more severe than winter blues, which, according to studies, is suffered by 1 in 5 Americans. The problem is exacerbated after unseasonably hot and pleasant summers, leading to dark and cold weather.

General lack of energy, apathy towards social engagements, poor sleep and irritability are just some of the potential symptoms, and whilst some people can shrug them off by mid-morning, for others, they are more long-lasting. This is especially a problem in the UK. Heavy cloud cover, which keeps the whole day dark is common in the United Kingdom, which can make the problem of winter blues and SAD worse, and make the symptoms go on for longer, as it affects one’s circadian rhythm.

There are steps you can take to minimise the problems that winter blues and SAD can pose. There is a tendency to want to brush the feelings off, but taking it seriously is the first step. Getting more light in your home is the best way. Some people find it very helpful to use a lightbox, but things like rolling up blinds and opening curtains to make the most of every bit of light available would be another option that is entirely free. Any light-based treatments, like the aforementioned lightbox or a dawn simulator, should be used in the morning, the earlier the better. But for very severe cases, antidepressants, or behavioural therapy might be prescribed.

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t fight the urge to sleep when it gets dark necessarily. Heading to bed early to ensure you get 8 hours sleep is going to improve your mood massively and forcing yourself to stay up late will affect your body clock, which in turn, contributes to winter blues and SAD.

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