Depressed this winter? Get out in the sun

The sun goes down after a cold day in Floyd County.

Sun greets us this Friday morning and those looking out the window see bright sun reflecting off snow…and ice…and black ice…and worse.

The thermometer reads 25 at 5:45 a.m. but wind remains so the “wind chill” is 15 degrees.  The mercury should edge above freezing around 10 am. but winds above 10 miles per hour will keep the air freezing until at least noon.

Floyd County schools remain closed Friday. Drifting snow from the winds and ice from the below wind chills create driving hazards throughout the county.  An auto accident brought down power lines Thursday and left some APCo customers in the dark.

Two-wheel drive vehicles slipped and slid on slick roads throughout the county.  High winds overturned tractor trailers on I-77 near Fancy Gap in Carroll County.  Residents throughout the county face frozen water pipes.

Little wonder that some feel “SAD,” which is a medical acronym for “seasonal affective disorder.”

“The most important time to get light is in the morning,” says Dr. Alfred Lewy, a disorder researcher at Oregon Health & Science University.  That can be a problem in the winter, when the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Maybe…or maybe not.

Martin Downs, writing for WebMD, notes:

A wistful feeling comes over us in late autumn, as the last remaining leaves drop, morning frosts cover the ground, and the sun sets earlier each day. Hot cider and the warmth of a favorite old coat may be all you need to face the coming winter with good cheer, but for many people, fall melancholy deepens to winter depression.

Winter depression is still a mystery to scientists who study it. Many things, including brain chemicals, ions in the air, and genetics seem to be involved. But researchers agree that people who suffer from winter depression — also known as “seasonal affective disorder,” a term that produces the cute acronym SAD — have one thing in common. They’re particularly sensitive to light, or the lack of it.

The National Weather Service says Friday and Saturday brings sun and warmer temperatures: A high of 46 today and 51 on Saturday.  Sunday’s forecast calls for partly cloudy and temperatures in the 50s.  Same for Monday.

If sunlight keeps us from being SAD, then get out there and fight the disorder.

Then take two aspirin, get a good night’s sleep and call us in the morning.

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse