CLEVELAND — Anyone who has lived in Northeast Ohio for a long period of time understands that the winter months are tough. 

It's hard to get pumped up to go outside and brave the elements. It's hard to deal with heavy snow, school closings, winter colds, and frostbite. But that's what makes us who we are. 

According to one study, those rough couple of months translates into Northeast Ohio being one of the 'Gloomiest Places in America.' 

We're not making this up. 

The data team at BestPlaces.net looked at the top 50 metro areas in the United States and determined that Cleveland-Elyria was fourth in the nation.

The study determined each metro area’s 'Gloom Score' by looking at three key environmental factors for the months of November, December, and January:

  • Percentage of Cloud Cover
  • Average Hours of Daylight
  • Days with Precipitation

According to BestPlaces.net, those of us who live in a 'Gloomy Place' may be at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), symptoms of which include feeling down, having low energy, and disruption of your sleep patterns. 

Although the specific cause of SAD remains unknown, reduced levels of sunlight can disrupt your circadian rhythms, reduce serotonin, and affect melatonin levels. Exercise, healthy eating, light therapy, and regular social interaction are some of the suggested ways to counteract SAD. 

It’s normal to have “down” days, but if you have extended periods like this you should see your doctor.

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