Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Happen in Summer, Too

We’re back with another Mental Health Monday! And today, we want to talk about a pretty hidden thing that can leave you feeling less than sunny during the summer.

Have you heard of seasonal affective disorder, a.k.a. SAD? It usually affects people in the winter when they’re not getting much time outside or in the sun. Winter-onset SAD can make you feel down and tired. With a persistent low mood and low energy, a lot of people with wintertime SAD dread the colder parts of the year.

Research into SAD is relatively new. And as experts look more into it, they’ve discovered that there’s a less common, albeit just as serious, type of SAD. And it hits you in the summer.

Summertime SADness

Got that summertime, summertime SADness? Like winter SAD, summer-onset seasonal affective disorder also causes depression-like symptoms, like feeling down and losing interest in things you used to enjoy. But it can also cause an uptick in your:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety

In some people, it also ruins their appetite and can lead to weight loss. 

The main thing to note is that both types of SAD are seasonal (as the name suggests, obv). If you notice that you feel down but agitated every time the weather starts to get warmer, it could be a sign that you’re living with summer-onset SAD. 

What to do if you live with SAD

Like we said, research into SAD — and especially summer SAD — is still in its baby stages. Currently, experts think that these seasonal, depression-adjacent symptoms come from the changes in sunlight. When the sun is up for the long days of summer, it can disrupt your body’s internal clock (your circadian rhythm), leading to changes in your brain chemistry (like your serotonin and melatonin levels). 

As a result, you may be able to find some relief by making changes at home. Invest in blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask. Get a fan or, if you’re lucky enough to have A/C, use it to keep your bedroom cool at night. There’s a whole thing called sleep hygiene that you can explore to find what works for you. Sleep and your circadian rhythm are directly linked, so this may help.

If you get on a consistent sleep schedule and still feel your symptoms, talk to your doctor or seek out a therapist. Summer should be a time to live it up, not a time to suffer. 

To help you seize the season, we’ve got some delish new flavors of Doughp dropping throughout the summer. Whether you’re living with SAD or you’re just having a sad day, some cookie dough might help.