S.A.D. yet easily tuckered out by a day of sunshine.
June 29, 2010 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Effected by S.A.D in the winter, yet when I remain in the sun for a good portion of the day during summer I feel exhausted. I'll take a nap from 5 to 10, eat, then go back to sleep just fine and wake up in the morning. It's ludicrous, the sun wears me out almost as bad as the lack of it.

Just in case: SAD = Seasonal Affective Disorder.
posted by mrflibble to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
just so we're clear, "i'll take a nap from 5 to 10"... is that "from 5 to 10 minutes long" or "from 5 o'clock until 10 o'clock"? 'cause the latter no longer qualifies as a "nap".
posted by radiosilents at 7:50 PM on June 29, 2010

Response by poster: Ah, 5pm to 10pm. Still a little fuzzy.
posted by mrflibble at 7:59 PM on June 29, 2010

It's not entirely clear what your question is.

Are you extremely active in full sunlight during most of the day during summer? Are you staying hydrated, eating enough, etc? These factors may cause you to be very tired at the end of a long day.

Maybe it's not SAD, and you require a lot of sleep year round?

More info might be helpful.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:07 PM on June 29, 2010

Response by poster: Don't need to be extremely active. It's been really overcast most of the time here in SE Michigan and when it's sunny all day I feel drained. I feel better and have more energy throuout the day when I don't have extended periods of direct sunlight.

Just trying to understand why the sun saps the energy out of me.

It doesn't even need to be hot out, the air was cool today and I was exhausted by 3.

I sleep normail hours, same time every night. 7 hours is my prime number of sleep hours.
posted by mrflibble at 8:16 PM on June 29, 2010

So, after a 5-hour nap you sleep only 2 hours during the night? Or you take a 5-hour nap followed by 7 hours of overnight sleep, for a total of 12?
posted by halogen at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2010

One of the classic symptoms of clinical depression is sleep cycle disruption. Clinical depression is, as I'm sure you're aware, just a year-round version of SAD.

If you have SAD which continues in the summer (albeit in a slightly different form) then... that's just D not SAD.
posted by ErikaB at 10:35 PM on June 29, 2010

This sounds like what I experience when I have too much sun exposure all at once and get burnt or edge up on a burn.

Are you using sunscreen? Are you in full direct sun?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:52 PM on June 29, 2010

I too live on a Great Lake (Erie) and don't get that much sun throughout most of the year. I'm willing to bet that you and I basically share a climate, in the sense that I get your climate a day after you're done with it. I do not, however, have SAD. That being said, when it first starts getting warm and sunny here (@4 mo/year total), I race outside, shriek my joyous thanks to the heavens, and....pass out. It's kind of a weirdo rite of summer here. The first warm days in May, it's 6-7 pm and we're like.....dude....I thought i wanted to go out after the beach but I'm just.....so.....tired..... And that is it, for the rest of the night.

However, it's late June now, and I no longer get tired from the sun, no matter what context I have been in it. I've adjusted to the point where I would have to be doing something extremely strenuous (and I kayak, hike, swim, and occasionally water-ski - I mean more strenuous than that) to be that tired at 5 pm, sleep that much, and still sleep through the night as well.

This makes me think that SAD may be throwing your tolerance off quite a bit. It's normal to get tired from too much "fresh air", but not THAT normal. Maybe you just do not have a natural tolerance for the sun and should stay out of it, but I really couldn't say. Maybe it's far more cloudy and crappy where you live than where I am, but like I said, we get your weather and there's been enough sun here to build a tolerance, as it were. My best advice is continue going out in it in small doses, and do something medium-strenuous. Don't just lie there and fry, but don't build a house or anything either. Go for a medium-paced walk, grill something, wash a car, something like that. Also, you should really see your doctor whom you see for your SAD and explain to him/her what the situation is. Good luck!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 11:54 PM on June 29, 2010

I have some clinical depression and messed up sleep cycles though not SAD. What your post made me think of is that I have this odd low-level anxiety when I can see the daylight out of the corner of my eye... when there's daylight I have this inchoate feeling like there's something else I need to be doing other than whatever I'm doing at the moment... as though no matter what I'm doing, I'm wasting the daylight and I need to go make some fruitful use of it. I don't have this feeling when it's dark outside. It doesn't make me tired though, but it occurred to me that perhaps you have some more intense version of it.
posted by XMLicious at 1:17 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are you taking an anti-depressant? Some anti-depressants (especially the older ones, I think) will make you photosensitive. I was on Anafranil for a while and that made me a lot more sensitive to sunlight; I burned easily and got really tired if I was out working in the yard any longer than 20 minutes or so.

Also, sunlight does affect your circadian rhythms....when you get depressed in the winter do you get the kind where you are an insomniac? If so, maybe this is part of the SAD and being super-sensitive to changes in light.
posted by cottonswab at 4:56 AM on June 30, 2010

Agreeing with Matt Oneiros - I'm very fairskinned, and after any form of sun exposure (i.e. actual exposure, where my skin can see the sun through <15spf) it's like all my body's energy goes into making sure my skin is okay, and I just shut down like somebody pulled the batteries, basically as soon as I come inside for the day.
posted by aimedwander at 5:52 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried taking vitamin D? I have a couple friends who suffer from SAD and have to balance their light exposure- although for them it seems like more of a metabolic thing where if they don't get enough sunlight, they practically hibernate and eat very little. If they get too much they feel exhausted and overworked, and very hungry. One just needs about 300iu on cloudy days in winter. The other one takes almost 1000iu a day and is affected by normal cloudy days year-round.

I ask because vitamin D levels in the body are correlated with amount of sunlight exposure. (Which makes sense, vitamin D is manufactured in the body with energy from sunlight as a central ingredient) I'd suggest taking a small amount like 300iu a day and see how you feel. It's cheap (<>
(totally serious, check out the vitamin D citations on the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder

four major peer-reviewed studies found Vitamin D helped)
posted by tachikoma_robot at 10:53 AM on June 30, 2010

Err, broke something there.

That last bit should say, "It's cheap, less than $5 a bottle, and completely harmless. Also keep in mind that the amount and time of day you take it also matters, so find out what works for you"
posted by tachikoma_robot at 10:56 AM on June 30, 2010

Something similar happens to me, but not quite to the same degree. Even when it's not hot out, several hours in the sun can be exhausting. Try staying well-hydrated - that makes a huge difference for me. Never go outside for a long period of time without a big water bottle, and drink before and after you go out. If you're being active, you might want to refill it a couple times while you're outside.

Do you have a hat? Do you wear sunscreen? Those things both might help, too.
posted by SugarAndSass at 12:38 PM on June 30, 2010

Response by poster: Definitely some good ideas. I be getting some sunscreen and give that a shot.

For those who mentioned clinical depression, I am bipolar. It just feels different than my typical depression symptoms. The anti-depressant I'm on is Celexa, I'll have to check the detains on whether or not it causes photosensitivity.

One friend of mine actually suggested a possibility of seritonin or vitamin d overdose. As if my body becomes so adjusted to darker skies that full blown sunlight shoots those levels higher than I can tolerate. Funny thing, too much seritonin?

Sounds like sunscreen will be my first attempt.

Thanks again everyone!
posted by mrflibble at 4:07 PM on July 2, 2010

Agreeing with XMLicious that if yer a bit off balance anyhow good weather can make you as miserable as bad. When it's awful weather out it's ok to be low energy and maybe not do loads of stuff, but if it's nice out you "should" be out living life, doing all those things you never feel like you have the energy for the rest of the time, and before you know it it's going to be winter again too! And so on, and so forth. Eww.
posted by Iteki at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2010

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