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Mapping Seasonal Affective Disorder in the UK

Which of the UK’s regions could be the most susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder? View yorktest’s research below.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Susceptibility By Region

Ranking Region
1st Scotland
2nd North Wales
3rd South Wales
4th London
5th South West
6th North West
7th East Midlands
8th North East
9th Yorkshire & The Humber
10th West Midlands
11th South East
12th East

With the clocks having recently changed, we’re set to see hours of sunlight decrease across the UK, which can be a contributing factor for SAD, but which regions of the UK might be most susceptible to the disorder? Through compiling data on mental health and sunlight hours, the table above orders the areas of the UK that may be the most susceptible to seasonal affective disorder.

How the results are calculated

The research for this piece consists of data sourced from ONS and Met Office on:

Sunshine hours

Mental health score

% of people reporting heightened anxiety levels

PHQ8 [depression] score

seasonal affective disorder

Reducing susceptibility to SAD

On the topic of reducing susceptibility to seasonal affective disorder, we caught up with Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant at Essentialise.

Here are his recommendations:

We are still in the early days of understanding the complexity of SAD, but what we do know is that it is intrinsically linked to our light exposure, our biorhythms and our hormone levels. With that in mind, the ways we can reduce our susceptibility to SAD is to consider getting light therapy to stimulate our serotonin production in the morning, and to get outside during natural light hours where we can.

Ensuring you get as much natural light into the room you are working from is also beneficial, while getting out in nature can also help to boost our mood and protect us against stressors. Exercising is another way we can promote mental wellbeing while eating a nutritious diet is essential as the majority of our serotonin production is in our gut.

Finally, trying to get a quality night of sleep also helps with emotional and hormonal regulation, so having an optimal evening routine and sleep environment is beneficial to reducing the impact of SAD. And don’t forget in these challenging times we face, ensure you’re getting your dose of social connection and relaxation, disconnecting from all the news and media that is so often negative.

About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘Winter depression’ affects 1 in 3 people in the UK. Common symptoms related to SAD are lethargy, low mood, food cravings and irritability amongst others. Whilst seasonal affective disorder can affect people throughout the year, it’s common to see symptoms worsen in the Winter months. No definitive cause for seasonal affective disorder has been identified, but there are a number of potential factors such as imbalances in serotonin or melatonin, as well as interference with your body clock*.

The importance of your mental health can’t be understated. If you’re suffering from symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, we’d recommend that you speak to a medical professional or utilise a service such as the NHS urgent mental health helpline.



* Disclaimer yorktest food intolerance, allergy and other test results are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. The results cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure medical or health conditions. If you are concerned about your symptoms then please contact your GP. Information on this website is for educational purposes only and you must never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it based on the information provided. yorktest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction