HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--Sunlight gives us the essential vitamin D our bodies need. It also helps our moods. When it's a beautiful day out, it's hard to be upset. But now that it's getting dark earlier, it could negatively affect your lifestyle, and cause those good moods to take a dip.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real disorder that comes with the darker days. But, even if you don't suffer from SAD, our bodies still have to adjust to the time change, and there are often negative side effects.
Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Whitten said sunlight tends to bring us happiness, so when we lose a lot of that sunlight due to the time change, it can really impact our moods.
"Many of us get up and go to work in the dark, many of us come home in the dark, so we feel like we're not seeing a lot of daylight, therefore people tend to get depressed, they tend to get fatigued," she said.
Whitten said people find themselves going to bed earlier, or sleeping later, which causes many of us to not get in the exercise that's so essential to our health.
"During the wintertime when it's darker, we don't do the physical activity that we're accustomed to doing," she explained.
She said our bodies very much react to the time change, and it can take a physical toll thanks to what we are perceiving.
"We don't exercise, we tend to eat more because we're bored or because it's dark and we don't have anything else to do," said Whitten.
That can then cause our bodies to start to change, which also contributes to the depression some people might be feeling.
"Gaining weight makes us more depressed, and it also makes uS feel bad, carrying an extra ten pounds of weight is hard on the heart, it's hard on the joints," said Whitten.
She said exercise can go hand in hand with our outlook, so if you're feeling some of those seasonal blues, try to maintain some form of activity during the winter months, getting in as much daylight as you can.
Eating healthy and staying away from too much sugar could also help to lessen some of the symptoms.