Author Topic: Seasonal Affective Disorder  (Read 457 times)

ditchdwellers

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Seasonal Affective Disorder
« on: 04 Dec 2022 11:45AM »
I'm after some advice for my husband who suffers from SAD this time of year and was wondering if anyone knows of things that might help besides sun lamps?


I would be particularly interested in any beneficial supplements. We both take vitamin D as recommended by my rheumatologist and would be grateful for any additional suggestions.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #1 on: 04 Dec 2022 07:53PM »
Not specific to SAD but as a general coping with seasonal stuff where light can be relevant...

I'm struggling at the moment, but in my case it's about not adapting seasonally and generally struggling with my clock.

However, some people find that, subject to their time commitments, playing around with daily timings can help.  Personally, in the past, I've even found things like split sleep can help when I'm struggling.  I'm not recommending specifically split sleep, I'm recommending experimenting with shifting timings for stuff, including getting up & going to bed, exercise, meals. 

That includes shifting timings for exercise, meals etc.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #2 on: 05 Dec 2022 08:42PM »
Incidentally, you've just helped me with something by prompting me to think about SAD, light etc.  I'm struggling a lot at the moment, including having the sort of fatigue I associate with having been lurgied (I've still got covid finger more than two months after it started, which would explain that), and I'm horribly depressed for a range of reasons.

So I'd not given enough attention to issues relating to light.  I've been crawling out of bed typically midday, perhaps earlier or later.  I may have been awake an hour or more before that, but with the curtains closed.  Today I thought about what you'd said and what I'd replied and thought "That's giving me four hours of daylight if I'm lucky.  Whilst I'm still trying to sort my internal clock, I need to turn the lights up."  Today I put far brighter lights on in my study and feel far more functional, so you've helped me and I wish I knew enough about SAD to help you in exhange.  All I can offer you is a big thank-you.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #3 on: 07 Dec 2022 01:07PM »
I think daylight length and intensity affects us all much more than we appreciate as a population generally.


A few years ago we bought a sunrise alarm clock, mainly in an attempt to help me wake up in the mornings after I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. We put it on my husband's side of the bed so that he could benefit from the light effects early in the morning but I hasn't the intensity of a SAD lamp by any means so I'm not sure if it benefits him in this respect, it's more of a very pleasant way to be woken up.
Perhaps you could try one out and see if it suits you? Ours (I think it's a Phillips one) has a radio alarm too or bird sounds which come on a certain time after the light first begins. The light brightens over the period you set it for. I haven't explained that very well. I hope you get the jist of what I mean!


As you suggested, we have tweaked our morning routine and that seems to be helping at the moment. Thanks for the tip :thumbsup:
Sorry to hear you too are struggling at the moment, for whatever reason, so sending you some big hugs  :big_hugs: :f_hug: :big_hugs:

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #4 on: 09 Dec 2022 02:27PM »
Gosh, I never expected this thread which was about you asking for tips would prompt so much help for me, but it has.  Different things came together in my head.  I phoned a GP to get blood test results and was bemused that my thyroid function results seemed ok in terms of how cold I feel.  Anyway, as I started thinking, I realised I'd never thought as to whether other things affect my body temperature, except for exercise. 

Internet, rummage, rummage.  Sleep patterns. Well, I know I have a the chronic sleep problem that has several names such as night owl, delayed sleep disorder etc.  I started thinking "When did I feel better?"

I'm now going to try melatonin, adjust my diet, and play around with light. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #5 on: 09 Dec 2022 03:19PM »
I'm learning stuff I never realised before.  I was diagnosed as a youngster with inherited optic nerve hypoplasia, and later learnt a wider term septo-optic dysplasia.  It affects my vision and pituitary.  What I hadn't realised until I just went back and looked is that it can affect sleep in more than one way. 

This won't be a cure-all for me, but gives me more ideas for tackling things, more hope.

I just hope, DD, that you find more ways to help your husband's SAD.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #6 on: 09 Dec 2022 07:49PM »
 :f_smiley: I love the way these threads become mutually beneficial unintentionally!


Sleep medicine is one of those areas that I have become fascinated with since diagnosed with narcolepsy and I've come to realise just how complex, varied, and poorly understood it is. Sleep has such a profound effect on all aspects of life that for those of us who, for whatever reason, have poor quality sleep then our health and quality of life can be severely impacted and disabling.
Yet so little money is put into the research of effects of poor sleep on the population and the financial costs involved in supporting those with underlying sleep issues that it seems somehow contrary.
What would I know though? I'm just a patient with narcolepsy and chronic fatigue; I'm not the one holding the research funding purse strings. Imagine how many peoples lives could be improved if they had better and easier access to well qualified sleep neurologists. Have you seen one yourself Sunny? You might find it helpful!

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder
« Reply #7 on: 09 Dec 2022 08:32PM »
I haven't seen a sleep neurologist, but it might well make sense to see one privately.

As it is, I'm looking back over my life at different periods and what did or didn't work for me with sleep timings.

In the past, when my 'night owl' sleep became a problem, I'd stay up later and later until I was up until about seven, then get some morning sleep and up again in the afternoon, and an early night to re-set.

But I hadn't registered how episodes I've done of split sleep, where you get up in the  night, actually helped to re-set.  Bed later, later until say 3am sleep.  Get up at 7, do three  hours, go back to bed and sleep 10-2.  After a couple of weeks, find I'm not wanting to do my second sleep and I'm getting to sleep at maybe 11-ish.

That being said, I've worked out my biggest problem at night is lying awake getting upset about stuff instead of going to sleep.  Last night I identified what but didn't stop myself, however the night before, I did stop myself.  Hope, then.

Right, I'm going 'helpful neighbour with smartphone' door-knocking.  My GP wants me to email pictures of my chilblains/covid-finger.  (I don't have a smartphone.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)