Seasonal Affective Disorder

Jess Rocheleau
September 22, 2021

There are pros and cons to just about everything and anything. What about the fall/winter months make it a perfect opportunity to make sleep a top priority? What is the downside of the winter months? Read more about what you should know about Seasonal Affective Disorder and how you can set yourself up to get the best sleep you can during the winter months.

Did You Know? Our bodies tend to sleep more during the Fall/Winter Months. This is associated with the amount of life we are exposed to. Our sleep-wake cycles and our internal clocks are shifted as the daylight hours get shorter. The reduced light exposure may explain why we tend to feel like we need to sleep more in the fall/winter months.

For some, the cooler air and the shorter days are the perfect formula to get those Zzz’s the body and brain are craving, but for others, it can be a time of struggle with more than just sleep problems.

Cue Winter evening: An early, dark, and quiet night. Cool air blowing through a cracked window, hot Sleep Remedy tea, and a fuzzy blanket. Is this not the perfect recipe for a bedtime ritual leading to the most amazing night of deep sleep?


Cooler air helps you sleep better

Unless you have been keeping up with our sleep education lately, you may not consider temperature a top priority when considering how to get the best possible sleep every night. We are here to tell you…it should be!

We know temperature plays a vital role in our body’s ability to properly function. When it comes to sleep, the temperature is at the top of the list of things to consider when we are talking about sleep quality.  Through studies and research, cooler body temperatures are associated with deep sleep. This is in part due to the natural drop in body temperature as our bodies prepare for sleep. 

Many may agree that there is nothing better than being able to sleep in a cold room, all bundled up with your favorite blankets.

*Ideal temperatures are between 60-67 degrees, with cooler temperatures in this range being linked to deeper sleep. Note: any ranges that are too extreme both hot and cold will impact sleep negatively. It’s all about finding your body’s sweet spot.

Doc Parsley is a huge advocate of maintaining a cool sleep environment and is a huge consideration when treating insomnia. Check out the Ooler/ Chilli Pad, it is a self-programmed cooling tool that allows you to set the temperature that suits your body’s most optimal sleep. 

Cooler sleeping temperatures help produce brown fat which is known to help your body burn energy and may help protect against obesity and diabetes

SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder)

There is a disorder known as SAD ( seasonal affective disorder). This can be compared to a seasonal bout of depression when there is an intense decrease in mood and energy levels due to the lack of optimal light exposure during the days, which results in sleeping problems. 

This disorder is more prevalent in places located North of the Equator that experience harsh winter conditions. It is a very known and common happening. This can begin impacting people as early as September and last through April, dependent on the location and the degree winter strikes that year. 

SAD Symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Low Energy
  • Negative Thoughts
  • Change in sleep 
  • Change in appetite
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Feeling sad/depressed
  • Difficulty thinking/Making decisions

This condition is more than just the “winter blues.” It is recognized when the symptoms become overwhelming enough to cause distress and disruption to daily activities and functioning. SAD is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.

How to mitigate the effects of SAD?

Get That Light When You Can

It’s important to focus on the things we can control here. If possible, shifting your routine to make it possible to get outside to soak in the prime sunlight hours of the winter days can be a game-changer, even if it is just a 20-minute walk. Not only is your body being exposed to sunlight, but you are getting fresh air and allowing your body to move. Treat this as an immediate mood booster.

Stick To Your Routine

Find a winter routine that works for you. Maintaining an exercise schedule is crucial for the winter months, even if you can’t be outside as long as you were able to be in the summer. If you need to bundle up to get outside in the sun, do it! Remaining disciplined and being your cheerleader is going to help ease the symptoms of the “winter blues.”

Prioritize Getting Sleep

With shorter days and longer nights, there is no excuse not to shut off the shows and get to bed an extra hour or two early. Use the dark, early nights to your advantage and allow your body to soak in all the goodness of what a deep, rejuvenating, and uninterrupted 8 hour night of sleep feels like, every night.  Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will allow your circadian rhythm to adjust to the winter months. 

If there is any time to begin prioritizing your sleep like you always wanted to, it’s now. And if you need a little help jump-starting your deepest, most regenerative sleep, give Doc Parsley’s all-natural Sleep Remedy a try. 


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