It’s natural for most people to focus on the negative implications of Daylight Saving Time (DST), especially for those people who are already sleep deprived. Losing another hour of sleep can greatly impact our health and job performance. But with the negative does come the positive, and for some, it may outweigh any negatives. We did an article last year How the Extra Hour of Sleep from the End of Daylight Savings Affects You. The Monday following DST leads to higher car accidents, heart attacks and may cause the formation of a sleep disorder. But no one sheds light (pun intended) on the positive aspect of DST, so let us tell you about it.
For many people who suffer from depression and or seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression), this time of the year is a breath of fresh air. The cold, dark and dreary winter months can lead to either too much sleep (which is bad for you), or not enough sleep (which is also bad for you). People who suffer with one form of depression or the other may develop sleep disorders which can hinder the quality of their sleep and result in deteriorating health conditions.
But what does spring bring? Sunlight!
Does a cold, dark and rainy day make you energetic and happy, or tired and a bit on edge?
If you’re like most people, you’ll most likely feel the latter of the two. This is directly connected to hormones in your body that are affected by light. Melatonin helps you feel drowsy and tired, while serotonin helps you feel awake and energized. The sunlight helps slow the release of melatonin, signals it’s time to be awake and active and releases serotonin. At night, the lack of light slows serotonin from being released and produces more melatonin so you can sleep easily.
So when there is not an extended period of sunlight in the sky, and the days are cold and dark for longer, depression can set in and wreak havoc on a person’s mind and body.
But Daylight Saving Time is here, the days are getting longer, and those who suffer from sleep disorders may find some relief by getting outside! Although this is not a cure for a disorder such as depression that is caused by underlying medical conditions, the increased exposure to sunlight for longer periods throughout the day can help with symptoms and improvements in their attitude.
These longer days may also help people reset their circadian rhythm. Because the days are getting longer, a person may be active outdoors, resulting in them going to bed earlier. But be careful; the nice weather can also cause a person to stay out longer and go to bed later. You need to remind yourself that getting the proper amount and quality of sleep will lead to a healthier life!
Do you know anyone who suffers from depression or seasonal affective disorder? Do you notice improvement in their condition after DST begins? Tell us in the comments below!