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SAD skews sleep perceptions

04-07-2013

Sufferers of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may have the same kinds of sleep perceptions as those experiencing established sleep disorders such as insomnia, say US researchers. SAD typically manifests during the darker months of the year, and has a range of unpleasant symptoms including depression, anxiety and sleep loss.

While SAD remains an elusively difficult condition to diagnose and treat, it is known that it involves disrupted circadian rhythm and impacts on the production of the hormones serotonin and melatonin, all key factors regarding sleep.

A team at the University of Pittsburgh found that SAD sufferers viewed their sleeping habits – which involve spending long periods in bed not sleeping – in the same way as insomnia sufferers, a situation that effectively reduces the likelihood of achieving good sleep. Researchers described these perceptions as “unusual beliefs”, underlining both the complexity of the situation and the impact on sleep quality.

The study was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.


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