Do you begin to feel lethargic, lack energy and motivation and feel low when the days start to shorten as we head towards winter? You could be one of the many thousands who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

This condition is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals, specifically Serotonin and melatonin; both need adequate exposure to sunlight for production. Shorter days and less sunlight can trigger these SAD symptoms in our bodies.

Serotonin is also known as the “feel good” hormone; adequate levels are needed for regulating our mood. It also helps regulate sleep patterns and appetite. If levels drop, mood and sleep patterns can be affected and appetite can increase.

Melatonin is an equal important hormone; the body converts serotonin to melatonin. This hormone regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Production is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. Gloomy, cloudy weather causes melatonin to remain increased. We may continue to feel sleepy and lethargic.

Eating well and exercise are keys. The use of a light box to stimulate light you are lacking is also very helpful for some people.