Clocks turn back and now we are all sleepy

Danielle Reysen
Man sleeping

Why is it that every year in Wisconsin when the clocks “fall behind,” we all get sleepy? There are known reasons of why this occurs to us and our family members. We live in the northern climates where during the fall and winter months the sun goes down earlier than the summer months. What happens is our eyes sense and sees darkness, so our brain releases natural melatonin, which tells our body we should be getting sleepy. In the reverse when our eyes sense light, our body natural releases serotonin which tells our body we should be awake. So feeling tired during this time of year is normal, but when we start experiencing depression, lethargy, fatigue, social withdrawal, food and carbohydrate cravings, sleep disturbances, weight gain and headaches…than we may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (typically symptoms disappear in spring).

Tips for Coping during the winter

  • Increase the amount of light in your home: open blinds and curtains, add skylights, and trim trees away from windows.
  • Go outside when it’s sunny to absorb as much sunlight you can.
  • Avoid wearing blue blocker sunglasses that block out the blue light.
  • Exercise regularly and add activities to de-stress and relax.
  • And, best of all, vacation in a warm, sunny place in the winter!
Of course, if these symptoms worsen, talk with your medical provider.

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