As summer begins to transition to fall, you might think of pumpkin spice lattes or planning for the holidays.
But the colder months can also have some serious effects on your mental health.
CBS reporter Sloane Wick looks at seasonal affective disorder for this week’s Here for Health segment.
There is no one clear cause of seasonal affective disorder, but experts believe a lack of Vitamin D may play a big role.
“We do need to actually get more of that sunlight and things like that, because it has a huge effect on our mood and how we’re feeling,” said Maggi Rocha, a clinical social worker.
But it’s not just sunlight.
Rocha says there’s a social part of it too. Many people don’t go out and do things with others as often in the winter.
“There’s not necessarily as much for individuals to do that is outside, or individuals who maybe can’t go outside in the winter due to different physical limitations, like mobility, or just because of the cold,” Rocha said.
And the environment doesn’t help.
“When you’re looking outside the window, it’s not this colorful floral green — we’re seeing the bleak kind of gray feeling,” Rocha said.
Seasonal affective disorder is usually more common for people living in the northern states like Wisconsin and Michigan.
The closer you are to the North Pole or the South Pole, the more your daylight will vary.
Daylight hours are a result of the Earth’s tilt on its axis. As we go into the winter, the Earth is tilted further away from the Sun, giving us shorter daylight hours.
“You notice that much more during late-summer and early-fall. So late-August, early-September, that’s when you really start to see that transition from only losing a minute of daylight per day, to around three minutes of daylight per day,” said meteorologist Mark Holley.
We are going to lose an hour and a half of daylight this month. So, it’s best to prepare now before it gets even darker and seasonal affective symptoms start to get worse.
“Make a plan or plan to fail. So, really, try to kind of get ahead of the game,” Holley said.