Winters in Finland get pretty dark and most Finns know this can affect your mood and sleep cycles. Most common symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder are having less energy, sleepiness, overeating and weight gain. Around 10-30 % of people in Finland get these seasonal symptoms at some level and about 1 % get actual symptoms of depression annually. 

International students, who come from areas that have less seasonal variation of sunlight, can be especially affected. Not being aware of the symptoms, they may not seek help when they would benefit from it. 

So what can you do to decrease symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder? One method is Dawn simulation with a timed light that is connected to an alarm clock. This Wake up -light comes on gradually before awakening time. You can find these lights in many well equipped home appliance stores. Also regular exercise is found to be helpful and keeping a steady sleeping habit can make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.  

Like with all mental health problems, you should seek help if the symptoms start to affect your day to day life and studies negatively. Laurea offers the services of student counselling psychologists, student social counsellor for international students, and student nurses. Laurea also co-operates with the local student pastors. You can read more about Laurea’s wellbeing services from LINK.

Student Union’s advocacy specialist Ada Saarinen can also advise you with problems concerning health care services (ada.saarinen@laureamko.fi, 044 287 7154).