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Mood Changes with Seasons: Impacts on Sleep 

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Do seasons affect your mood? The short answer is yes, they do. In fall and winter, it is more common to experience feelings of sadness, disconnection, and even hopelessness as the cold, grey, and cloudy weather dredges on. However, you may feel joyful, hopeful, and engaged with your surroundings in spring and summer. 

Mood changes with seasons, but to what extent? How does this affect the necessary things we need to accomplish each day to be our best selves? Unfortunately, one of the primary ways we are affected is through sleep.

How do people respond to weather changes?

Naturally, when the season changes, the weather becomes colder, the days become darker, and there is far less time to engage with your friends, family, community, and co-workers, you will experience some issues. This emotional and mental stress can significantly impact your personal and work lives, sleep schedules, and general wellbeing, and it can be directly correlated to weather changes. 

Ask yourself if you have ever found yourself saying, "the cold weather is making me depressed, and I don't want to leave the house," or "cloudy weather makes me depressed, and I can't be my best self." If you have, you may have experienced some symptoms of SAD, and you may have even lost sleep due to these symptoms, as they alter your ability to regulate, cope, and respond to stressors emotionally.

Do seasons affect your mood and sleep?

When we experience these symptoms, we experience an emotional disturbance that directly interrupts how and when we sleep. Sleep is essential to our wellbeing, and when we don't get enough, we do not function as our optimal selves, and the issues we face begin to compound. 

We know that the seasons change, and we know that it will change how we feel. How do we prepare for the onset of SAD so we can continue to live our lives in meaningful, productive ways? How do we ready ourselves to continue to sleep well and get appropriate rest to prevent our symptoms from worsening? 

We must ensure we are prepared for mood changes with seasons and understand our challenges. Truly, weather changes are significant contributors to personal stressors, and they affect millions of people across the globe each year by inducing SAD. Thus, weather and seasonally induced symptoms of depression are valid and suggest a specific affliction that arises directly from long-term, and even short-term, changes in the weather. 

This directly impacts our sleep schedules. Emotional and mental strife from SAD notably causes feelings of doubt, hopelessness, and worthlessness, and these feelings can be pervasive throughout the day and into the night. These thoughts can keep you awake and prevent your body from undergoing core actions, such as entering REM sleep and getting optimal rest. 

This process becomes cyclical and can compound your issues – when you lack sleep, you don't have the wherewithal to respond to daily stressors effectively; when you cannot accomplish all your responsibilities, this can impact how well you sleep. 

What happens when seasons change?

Unfortunately, when seasons change, especially during the shift to colder months with shorter days, SAD symptoms begin to present themselves. One major way is by impacting our sleep schedules and the quality of sleep we get each night. The cold and minimal sunlight are a dangerous combination for inducing SAD, and the threat of this drastically increases as the seasons change to fall and winter.

With a lack of sunlight, you can experience light deprivation depression. With changes in the weather, you can experience other symptoms of depression. Although this is incredibly common, we must know how to prepare ourselves. If we know the weather is going to change, we can ask ourselves questions, such as “can cold weather cause depression in me?”, “does cloudy weather causes depression in my loved ones?" or "am I getting enough sleep?” 

Not only will the answers to questions like these help you, but they will also allow you to assist your family and friends when they begin to experience similar symptoms. We must understand what a good weather depression definition is and then explore how it impacts our ability to sleep.

What is a good weather depression definition?

What is a good weather depression meaning? What is a good definition? Weather depression, or SAD, can vary significantly from person to person. Some characteristics include a feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness, disconnection from society or loved ones, lethargy, impulsivity, suicidal ideation, and more. Each of these symptoms can disrupt your sleep schedule in some way, which, in turn, further perpetuates these symptoms. 

Weather is incredibly connected to our wellness. When the weather is poor, we have less opportunity to enjoy the activities, leave the house, connect with our communities, and, ultimately, feel happy. When we aren’t happy, sleep is one of the first bodily functions that change.

Conclusion

Sleep is essential for emotional and mental wellbeing, but it is also directly impacted by how we feel. When the weather begins to change, and we enter lengthy periods of cold air and minimal sunlight, it is common to exhibit symptoms of SAD. Regardless of the symptoms you experience, it is highly common that they impact how well you sleep.

If you can reflect on how you react to changes in weather or shifts in the seasons, you can prepare yourself and acquire coping tools to persevere. You can develop a plan to minimize the symptoms of SAD while proactively determining ways you can get optimal sleep and accomplish your responsibilities. We must get appropriate rest to live healthy lives and function optimally, and seasonal changes can directly influence our ability to do this. 

Additional SAD & Sleep Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Affective Disorder

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21 Seasonal Affective Disorder Self-Care Tips

21 Seasonal Affective Disorder Self-Care Tips

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The Ultimate Guide to Sleep

The Ultimate Guide to Sleep

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33 Ways to Sleep Better

33 Ways to Sleep Better

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About the Author

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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