If you’re still feeling the benefits of that extra hour’s sleep afforded by the clocks going back on the weekend, hold on. Unfortunately, the onset of winter will leave almost a third of us suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), with women more likely to suffer than men.

The end of British Summer Time signals darker nights and colder temperatures for the UK, and with it, for many, the return of the annual seasonal disorder. We’ve carried out new research* revealing that 29% of women admit to being personally affected by SAD, compared to a quarter (25%) of men. And it’s an illness that particularly affects young people, with 37% of those aged between 24 and 35 saying they had suffered from SAD, compared to just 22% of those aged 55 and over.

SAD is a type of depression which comes and goes with the seasons and can affect people’s day to day lives. ActiveQuote’s Rod Jones said: “Getting up to go to work in the dark and coming home in the dark can detrimentally affect your mental health and wellbeing.

“With the prolonged summer behind us, the colder temperatures of winter will no doubt come as a shock to us all. However, these numbers are surprisingly high and it’s worrying to think that almost one in three of us will be feeling low this winter.

“As well as taking some steps to combat the effects of SAD, private medical insurance providers are now attuned to the mental health needs of many of their clients and our own research of the industry has found that 82% of health insurance policies now offer the option of adding mental health cover. So, no matter the time of year or the weather outside, help and advice is available.

NHS UK suggests a few simple ways to combat SAD, including:

  • Getting outside as often as possible, such as for a lunchtime walk
  • Sitting next to windows when working indoors
  • Taking regular exercise outdoors
  • Making your home and work environment as light and airy as possible

Read our article on the health benefits of being outdoors to make the most of the fresh air throughout winter. And if you find this time of year a struggle, read our tips on wellbeing all year round to keep your happiness levels topped up, as well as our 10 small steps to boost your mental health.

For more information on health insurance policies including mental health cover, compare quotes online or call our team on 0800 862 0373.


*OnePoll conducted a survey of 2,000 randomly selected adults in September 2018.