Doctor: The winter blues are real

(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you’ve been complaining about the cold, snowy winter, don’t worry – you’re not alone.  Most Hoosiers are tired of it, and doctors say there is a medical reason for the winter blues.

Because our days are shorter and we’re seeing less sunlight, the body’s melatonin levels are affected.

That means when there’s a string of gray or dark days, the body doesn’t really know when to sleep or when to get up, so you may feel more tired.

Also, because you have to bundle up every time you go out, you tend to stay inside more and exercise less. You also probably eat more comfort foods and may have gained a little weight.

Doctors like IU Health’s Lena Franklin say they are seeing lots of patients with similar stories about the blues – which in some cases can be diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“Every time we think maybe we’ll get a break, it’s over, we get hit with another snowstorm,” said Franklin. “And I’m seeing a lot of complaints from my patients just saying I’m done, I can’t take it anymore, and a lot more anxiety and depression -maybe even more than previous years because of that.”

Doctor Franklin says you should see your doctor if your symptoms are extreme, because there could be another issue.  But, once you rule out something more serious, you can fight the winter blues. She says you should try to get up early and see the sunlight and try to get in some exercise, even if it’s just walking stairs or a hallway. Doctor Franklin also recommends to try eating lighter summer foods instead of winter comfort foods.

And finally, hang in there, spring will be here soon! provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s