Shorter darker days make many feel SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Are you feeling SAD? Often called the ‘winter blues’, Seasonal Affective Disorder usually affects people in the winter when the days are shorter and darker. In research, women have been found to suffer disproportionately more from SAD symptoms and are more likely to experience feelings of depression during winter.

Here are the five main signs of SAD:

Low mood

A lack of sunlight during the winter months leads to the brain making less serotonin, a chemical that helps the brain regulate mood. This can result in unexplained feelings of depression, hopelessness, and irritability.

Feeling less sociable

Due to a persistent low mood and resulting low self-esteem, you may find yourself withdrawing from social activities or cancelling plans to meet up with friends and family.

Loss of interest in activities

It is normal to experience less enthusiasm for your usual hobbies and interests. You may feel too physically and mentally drained to enjoy the activities you usually take part in.

Sleeping more

Fatigue and low energy are common SAD symptoms. You may find it harder to get out of bed on a cold winter morning or feel sleepy throughout the day.

Increased appetite and weight gain

People with SAD may have cravings for certain foods, particularly carbohydrates or other traditional comfort foods which make us feel better if we have a low mood. Coupled with reduced physical activity this can result in weight gain.


For most of us, simple steps can help you look after yourself and they can fit into your daily life. Take a look back at our tips on how to relax and recover.

Published on 26 October 2020