Updated: May 25
Summertime is right around the corner. For most, it's a time of fun in the sun, no stress, more rest, and a time of joy.
But not everyone is happy about the extra long days of sunshine and the blazing hot heat.
In fact, there are some who actually experience a decrease in mood during the summer months. This mood decrease can even be so dramatic that it affects an individual's quality of life.
Do you feel irritated during summer months? Do you feel exhausted but find it hard to sleep? Do you feel hot and have a hard time cooling down? Maybe you have headaches that last for months and only subside when the weather begins to cool off?
If so, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Now, I've addressed SAD on this blog before but from the most common angle, the SAD that usually occurs during the winter months.
But did you know that SAD may occur during summer months too? While the winter variety of SAD affects a larger group of individuals, summer SAD does indeed exist.
What is summer SAD?
Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD occurs during the summer months instead of the winter months. It's estimated that of the 5% of the American population that has SAD, 10% of those experience it during the summer months.
Symptoms of summer SAD include
Unable to sleep
Loss of appetite
Feeling of overheating
What causes summer SAD?
Research suggests that summer SAD may have something to do with a decrease in melatonin production.
This makes sense because melatonin is the hormone secreted by the pineal gland that allows for the regulation of the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is especially needed to fall asleep.
Light degrades melatonin.
With increased sunlight during the summer, there may be lower levels of melatonin in people with summer SAD which leads to less sleep and more irritation.
There's also research that suggests that SAD is linked to changes in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Ways to Beat Summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder
Are you tired of summertime SADness? If you're experiencing the summer variety of SAD, what can you do to alleviate symptoms?
Here are some tips to beat summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Make sure that you stay hydrated. Becoming dehydrated is much easier in the summer months when the sun is hotter and you may be outdoors more often.
If you find that you become more irritated when the weather gets hotter, do your best to stay cool. When you're outside, stay in the shade. Make sure that you're wearing sunscreen and try to spend more time in air conditioned places.
Get Some Sleep
Do your best to get sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep is a darkened cool room. Use a sleep mask to block out the early sunlight if necessary and try taking melatonin.
If you need additionally support, you can always reach out to your local naturopathic doctor to get a personalized approach to feeling your best.