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