Why do I feel so tired each fall?

Agnesian HealthCare Work and Wellness

Written by: Kathy Fett, Director, Agnesian Work & Wellness

Believe it or not, daylight savings time will soon be upon us. With daylight savings time, comes darkness and sometimes Seasonsal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression with symptoms starting in fall and continuing through the winter months.

Some symptoms of SAD that you might notice:

  • feeling depressed
  • low on energy
  • loss of interest in activities you typically enjoy
  • sleeping problems
  • changes in appetite and/or weight
What causes these symptoms you may ask? Although there are no specific causes that have been determined, some factors that play a part are a change in your biological clock or circadian rhythm (which is caused by decrease in sunlight) or drop in serotonin level (a chemical stimulant that affects mood). Additionally, reduced sunlight can cause a drop in melatonin levels, which play a part in sleep patterns and mood.

You should see a physician or provider when you are down or sad for days and have lost all interest in activities you once enjoyed; or, when you have changes in appetite and or sleep patterns.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder may include light therapy (phototherapy), anti-depressive medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy). Lifestyle and home remedies can also help, which include opening your house to more sunlight, taking a walk and exercising regularly.

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