Daylight saving time was in the news this week as standard time hit the United States this past weekend, forcing people to turn their clocks back and gain an hour of sleep.
But standard time means there’s less sunlight, more darkness and, well, a change of the way we see the world. That could affect how we live out each day.
Recently, experts have been assessing if there’s any connection between daylight saving time and seasonal affective disorder, an issue where people suffer more depression during the winter months.
Does daylight saving time lead to seasonal affective disorder?
Susan Albers, the psychologist for Cleveland Clinic, told the Cleveland Clinic News Service that daylight saving time can affect people’s moods, making them more depressed, anxious and upset because of the sudden time change.
“Seasonal affective disorder is often caused by changes in our circadian rhythm, that internal natural clock that runs our sleep, our mood and our appetite,” Albers said. “When there is a shift in the season and our access to daylight, our bodies struggle to adjust to the new light and time frame.”
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that people suffer during different seasons. Most of the time, it happens when the winter months brings less sunshine and social interactions, leading to multiple mental health issues.
“SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
What are seasonal affective disorder symptoms?
Symptoms for seasonal affective disorder include:
- Feeling withdrawn.
- Lack of motivation.
- Struggle to concentrate.
- Sleeping changes.
- A change in eating habits.
How to combat seasonal affective disorder?
Albers told the Cleveland Clinic News Service that building a routine can help you stay happy and healthy when facing the disorder.
“Staying true to a routine is key to dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Going to sleep at the same time each night, getting up at the same time each morning, our bodies love consistency and routine,” she said.