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Daylight Savings Time Just Ended, Here’s How to Cope With Less Sunlight

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Depression, Mental Health

Community psychiatry’s Julian Lagoy, M.D. was featured in Verywell Mind discussing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and tips on coping. 

Daylight Savings Time Just Ended, Here’s How to Cope With Less Sunlight

Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends November 1, which means we lose an hour of sunlight as we turn back our clocks.

While the routine was implemented in the U.S. nearly 100 years ago as a means of saving energy, that extra hour of darkness has proven a detriment to mental health. And as we enter a long and dark winter in the throes of a pandemic, this year’s end to DST could be uniquely challenging for many.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

As we transition into winter and the days get shorter and darker, many individuals struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Less exposure to sunlight disrupts our circadian rhythms and causes both a drop in serotonin and spike in melatonin, which can lead to feelings of drowsiness and depression.

“This is a unique mood disorder because it is a direct result of weather and location,” says psychiatrist Julian Lagoy, MD. “For instance, in southern states the incidence of seasonal affective disorder is very low, whereas in northern states like Alaska the incidence is significantly higher. This is because we are reliant on sunlight both for our physical and our mental health.”

Strategies to Cope

Although the end of DST has arrived, all hope is not lost. Morin reminds us it’s important to be proactive if you know you’re more likely to feel depressed come winter. There are strategies that can help you tackle SAD feelings.

Lagoy suggests practices like exercising, eating well, and something as simple as opening all the blinds in your living space to optimize natural lighting. If there’s not much natural light to be had, consider investing in a light therapy lamp.

Click here to read the entire article on Verywell Mind.

Categories

Depression, Mental Health