What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real condition that many people struggle with in the winter season, when the nights draw in and there is less daylight. It is a type of low mood or depressive state that has a number of symptoms. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimate that around 3% of people are affected by winter depression.
The precise causes of SAD are unclear but it’s believed that lower duration and levels of sunlight can affect the production of melatonin that controls our sleep cycle and low levels of light can also mean lower levels of serotonin (a hormone that affects mood level) for some people.
Why should employers be aware of SAD?
SAD can have a significant impact on an employee’s wellbeing and productivity and may help explain a change in an employee’s behaviour or attitude. Helping to deal with wellbeing issues should be a priority for employers. In order to help create a happy and productive workplace, issues such as SAD need to be identified and support offered.