While more than 70 countries across the globe recognize Daylight Saving Time, the practice of moving our clocks back one hour the first Sunday in November, not everyone is a fan of the practice. Turning back the clocks can affect our mental, physical and emotional health, reducing sleep while increasing instances of cardiac issues, strokes and car accidents over the first several weeks as we adjust to the shift.
Further, people who already cope with depression can struggle even more without the mood-enhancing effects of ample sunlight. While Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression connected to Daylight Saving Time and seasonal changes, those who face depression year-round sometimes feel the winter blues in full force following the time change. Both SAD and depression can lead to issues such as low energy, changes in appetite, social withdrawal, difficulty focus and more.
To combat seasonal depression, people often turn to exercise, light therapy (via a light box as well as additional exposure to sunlight), adjustments in medication and even trips to warmer locales to soak up some sun. Those who are already meeting with a therapist should let their provider know if they are suffering more due to Daylight Saving Time.
If you think you are struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, anxiety or something else, please reach out. You never need to experience this alone.
Otherwise, reducing technology (screens, in particular) at least an hour before bedtime can support a better sleep routine. Time spent outdoors, a healthy diet and preparation ahead of time can also support people’s mental and physical health.
While Arizona and Hawaii, two states which are closer to the equator and experience less shift in sunrise and sunsets, already ignore Daylight Saving Time, more and more states are considering following suit. Originally implemented as a way of saving energy, Daylight Saving Time has recently been shown to have negligible, if any, affect to this end.
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