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The cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is in the name. There is less daylight in fall and winter. The lack of sunlight causes SAD. With the lack in sunlight, the skin reacts with excess melatonin. A sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin causes symptoms of depression. It produces in greater amounts during periods of darkness. When days are shorter and nights are longer, the body produces more melatonin resulting in SAD symptoms.