Over 70 countries around the world practice daylight saving time (DST). It’s “the practice of moving the clock back by one hour the first weekend in November.”
DST is for energy conservation. But, many states and countries have chosen not to take part in DST. They found no significant results on energy savings. In fact, researchers found DST increases depression factors in adults and teens.
DST and Negative Health
Energy savings is a hotly debated topic. But, there is proof that DST increases depression factors. DST affects “both mental and physical health.”
Changing the clocks to gain one hour of daylight in the fall causes:
- Reductions in sleep
- Increases cardiac arrest
- Higher risk of stroke
- More cortisol production
- Increase in vehicular accidents
“The good news is that these issues are worse within the first three weeks of DST. As our body’s circadian rhythm adjusts to the time change, the risk of these adverse experiences greatly reduces.”
DST Increases Depression Factors
DST has “negative effects on mood.” For teens living with depression, losing sunlight may be too much to bear. “While many succeed, there are some people who cannot successfully reduce their depressive symptoms”
To help reduce depression factors, practice self-care:
- Exercise and stay physically healthy.
- Watch what you eat.
- Keep a healthy sleep schedule.
- Learn about your circadian rhythm.
- Use artificial sunlight to help reset your body clock.
- Put your smart phone away before bed. “Blue light syndrome interferes with melatonin production, the sleep hormone that makes for good, restful sleep.”
- Spend more time outdoors during daylight hours.
- Sit in a pool of light indoors to relax or read.
- Eat lean proteins and keep a low carb diet.
- Use aromatherapy to lift your mood.
- Consider taking an antidepressant to help move through seasonal depression with ease.
- Reach out to a mental health specialist for support.
Depression Factors: SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) coincides with DST. It begins and ends when DST starts, and when the seasons change. SAD is a clinical disorder. It happens when “the depressed mood, irritability, and difficulty thinking and concentrating worsens.”
Depression Factors: MDD
“Seasonal affective disorder is a type of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).” These depressive factors occur seasonally. Symptoms “tend to resolve each spring and occur again in late fall.”
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Inability to concentrate
Teens struggling with SAD have to “take extra care during DST so they don’t fall into double depression.” This is severe depression caused by two depressive disorders.
DST isn’t changing anytime soon. Teens can reduce seasonal depression factors by practicing self-care.
To learn more about depression, click here.