Even in the shortest day of the year – the winter solstice on December 21st – Washington DC, D.C., will get almost 9 hours 30 minutes of daylight; in Miami, 10 hours 31 minutes. In Portland, Oregon it is 8 hours 42 minutes and in Billings, Montana, 8 hours 40 minutes.
Many people think that the shorter days and longer nights of the season affect their health. About 5 percent of the population develops seasonal depression, according to Mental Health America. Reduced daylight triggers the slightly milder “winter blues” for another 10-20 percent, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Seasonal disease, or SAD, affects women much more often than men. 4 out of 5 people with SAD are women. It also affects people under 30 more often than older. Symptoms include typical signs of depression ̵
1; such as low energy, sleep problems, changes in appetite and weight and loss of interest in favorite activities. But with SAD comes the symptoms and goes with the season. Nobody knows what causes SAD, but most experts link their development to less exposure to the sun’s rays, which are caused by shorter days in the fall and winter. This can interfere with the body‘s internal clock, sparkle depression and reduce body serotonin levels, increase melatonin levels and reduce D levels, affecting your mood. Treatment options include light treatment – sitting in front of a special light box for 20 to 60 minutes a day – as well as behavioral therapy and possibly antidepressants.
If relocation is an option, consider heading south. The closer you are to the equator, the lower the risk of seasonal depression.