Holidays losing their sparkle? Lack of sunlight could be the reason

If you’re feeling just a little depressed and lethargic this time of year, go ahead and blame the universe – specifically the sun. The cause may be seasonal affective disorder, which ties the blahs to waning winter sunlight.

SAD, as it’s called, usually affects people who live in northern states where days are short and darker during winter months. This HealthKey article lists symptoms as: "… Oversleeping, daytime fatigue, carbohydrate craving and weight gain as signs of SAD, as well as symptoms of generalized depression, such as decreased sexual interest, lethargy, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and loss of interest in your normal activities.”

Sunlight stimulates melatonin, which affects your sleep-wake cycle, this Hartford Courant article says. And a Newport News Daily Press report explains how light therapy can help.

Of course, there’s a flip side to this. For some, summer sun – and lots of it – can bring on the doldrums. This Los Angeles Times article explains.


So, whichever side of the disorder you’re on, help is on the way. Dec. 21 marks the winter solstice – and the beginning of longer days with more light.

Here’s more information on seasonal affective disorder from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.