Episode 19: Winter Blues

Winter blues

Do you get winter blues? Why does this happen? What can we do about it? It is all about light or are there other factors involved in winter blues? These are all questions we try to answer in this episode, with the help of Prof Greg Murray (Psychologist) and Martin Emtenäs (Swedish TV host).

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk, talking all things sleep.

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Audio Timeline:

  • 00:00 – 01:45 Introduction
  • 01:45 – 07:43 What’s news in sleep?
    • 01:45 – 03:42 Sleep Awareness Week
    • 03:42 – 04:45 Debunking Sleep Myths
    • 04:45 – 05:37 Podcast on a CPAP experience
    • 05:37 – 06:22 Ask the Doctor
  • 06:22 –  Theme – Winter Blues
    • 06:22 – 09:50 Background – Winter Blues
    • 09:50 – 15:18 Guest interview – Martin Emtenäs
      • Living through a Scandinavian winter
      • Sleeping when it’s light all night
    • 15:18 – 39:34 Guest interview – Prof Greg Murray
      • What’s the role of light in regulating the circadian system?
      • How do our behaviours change across seasons?
      • Is it all about light? What other factors contribute to winter blues?
      • How might light affect mood?
      • Should we use the term Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADS)?
      • What biases in research can impact on research in this area?
      • How should we approach treatment for winter blues?
    • 39:34 – 42:46 What else can people do to help with winter blues?
    • 42:46 – 43:23 Where to get more information on winter blues
  • 43:23 – 44:20 Clinical tip of the month – Using behavioural activation for fatigue
  • 44:20 – 47:50 Pick of the month:
    • 44:20 – 46:07 Moira – SAD schmad: Is seasonal affective disorders a valid construct?
    • 46:07 – 47:50 David – Light as an aid for inpatient recovery: A systematic review
  • 47:50 – 49:25 What’s coming up in sleep?

Next episode: July 3rd – Update from Sleep 2017 meeting

Links mentioned in the podcast:


Guest interviews:

Martin EmtenäsMartin Emtenäs is a Swedish TV journalist most famous as Program Manager for Mitt in naturen in SVT. Martin grew up in Oxelösund in Södermanland and became early naturally interested in nature. In 1996 he moved to Umeå for military service and then stopped to study. At Umeå University, he studied molecular biology for two years as well as courses in media and communication science and creative Swedish. In 2002 he received a summer job as Program Manager at Radio P4 Västernorrland, and then worked there for three years. Emtenäs has since 2005 been the program leader for Mitt i naturen in SVT. In 2008, he was awarded Norrland’s major journalist award for his work with the program. In 2010 and 2011 he was the program leader for the Congratulations Crown Princess in SVT.

Greg MurrayProg Greg Murray is a Professor of Psychology at Swinburne University of Technology. Greg has a national and international reputation for clinical psychology research, being ranked in the top 1% of researchers worldwide in the fields of bipolar disorders, circadian rhythms, personality and affect. Through 2016-2019, he is leading a $1.1 million NHMRC project investigating a novel online intervention for bipolar disorder. An active public intellectual, Professor Murray has won multiple individual awards for teaching and provided professional development workshops for hundreds of psychologists and psychiatrists across Australia and overseas.

Regular hosts:

Dr Moira Junge

Dr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira has consulted at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre since 2008, and is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA). She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists wanting to learn more about sleep disorders, and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments, as well as clinical involvement with the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic. She is one of the clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. In addition to her expertise in sleep disorders, her other areas of interest and expertise include smoking cessation, psychological adjustment to chronic illness, and grief and loss issues.

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is certified as both an International Sleep Medicine Specialist and International Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep. David is a regular media commentator on sleep, both in traditional media and social media, and blogs for the Huffington Post on sleep. David’s recent research has been in the area of non-drug, psychologically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness in managing insomnia, restless legs syndrome and other sleep disorders.

Connect with David on Twitter or Facebook.

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