We know that as the days get shorter, we tend to sleep longer — and that the tendency to sleep longer in autumn and winter is only exacerbated for those of us with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, there are some sleep benefits we experience when leaving the summer months behind such as the return to standard time, a decrease in air pollution and lower temperatures, all of which can help our bodies fall asleep.
Many people experience short time periods where they're feeling not quite like themselves or maybe a little sad. In some cases, these changes in mood start and end with the change of the seasons. They might begin feeling "down" as the days become shorter in autumn and winter, but start feeling better again come springtime when the daylight hours are longer. Sometimes, these changes in mood are more serious and have an impact on how they think, feel, and handle day-to-day activities.
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was first noted before 1845, but was not officially named until the early 1980’s. As sunlight has affected the seasonal activities of animals (i.e., reproductive cycles and hibernation), SAD may occur in humans due to this seasonal light variation. As seasons change there is a shift in our circadian rhythm. This is due partly to the changes in sunlight frequency and duration. The result is having our biological clocks fall out of “step” with our daily schedules. As the days get shorter the problem may worsen.