Daylight Saving Time: Is the Yearly Ritual to Blame for Depression? by Dr. Shayna Mancuso

Family Health
4 years ago
Daylight Saving Time: Is the Yearly Ritual to Blame for Depression?

Ready to turn your clocks back for Daylight Saving Time? At first, that extra hour of sleep looks delightful. However, the effects it will have on our bodies will take a little getting used to. Melatonin, an important hormone in the brain, helps to maintain the body's circadian rhythm. Sunlight inhibits the production of melatonin, while darkness increases it. This explains why some people experience more fatigue and grogginess as winter's days become shorter and the nights become much longer.

In fact, 4 to 6 percent of the population may experience a winter depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is four times more common in women than men. In a study, a research team found an increase in the number of hospital admissions for depression immediately following the daylight saving time transition.The researchers stated that the 8 percent rise in depression diagnoses was too high to be considered coincidental. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that may help with the time change:

  • Continue to exercise regularly.
  • Expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible and increase indoor light exposure as well.
  • Gradually make the transition. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier starting prior to the time change.
  • Make sleep a priority and keep regular sleep hours.
  • Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns. 

Read more about this study here!

The information on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal health care provider.

Donna John
How interesting, Dr. Shayna Mancuso! Now that we are aware that this can happen, we can take steps for combat it. Thanks so much for sharing this with the tribe!
I have such an issue with sleep. I welcome this information!
Amy Douglass
This is great information!! It's always a tough transition for our family each year! We started using a blue light each morning in our kitchen to hopefully lessen the stress on our bodies with the big change.
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Thank you for sharing this timely info, Dr. Shayna Mancuso! I always have a tough time with the transition, so I appreciate the tips!
Judy Thow
Love to follow your articles. Appreciate and glean such great information on your varied topics. Always looking forward to the next!
Heather Davis-Carlopio
Great info.! I have struggled with the time change-depression thing myself and definitely find it helpful to pay close attention to exercise and being outdoors as much as possible during the day. Great article. I think many people struggle with SAD and don't always even realize what's happening.
Great suggestion about changing your schedule before the time change goes into effect. Thank you!
Was just having a chat about this today! It always takes me some time to adjust!
Alissa Mitchell-Hunt
Thank you so much for the information...I will use the 15 min idea
Mike Prochaska
I dreading tomorrow and getting the kids up for school. Better get the coffee brewing

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