The Truth Behind Daylight Savings Depression

The clock skips forward, ensuring everyone loses an hour of sleep again the second Sunday of March. Though this happens every year, often we accept the dreaded consequences of the shift in time without thinking too deeply about the effect of daylight savings depression on our bodies and mental health.

There is a myth, according to Forbes’ website, that daylight savings helps farmers, but they say that the 1918 Daylight Saving Act actually disrupts the milking schedules of their cows and are opposed to it.

Similarly, a change in sleep cycles may have caused a 5.7 percent spike in the injuries of mine workers in a 2009 study by the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Overall, “research shows there are more car accidents, heart attacks and general grumpiness” after the clock shifts time, says CBC News Canada.

This potential seasonal disorder can have major effects on the mental and physical health of the population, meaning it’s something people might need to look out for if they’re susceptible to certain symptoms of depression or mental disabilities.

Since college students are notorious for getting little sleep, being wary of the impacts daylight savings time might have on your sleep schedule and the general homeostasis of your body are important to your overall health.

While the spring time is generally thought of as a light, airy season, for others it can trigger symptoms of depression if they’re unable to exhibit that same feeling.

"Many people look at spring as new beginnings, something positive,” says Nicolas Werner, a Sussex mental health worker, to BBC News.  “This is a sharp contrast with how people with depression feel and exacerbates the condition.”

Suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, Werner says that the negative feeling surrounding the spring forward can cause a manifestation in feelings of depression. Such is not surprising as BBC reports that one out of five people will experience depression at one point.

And when clocks are set back again in November, the lack of sunlight can be hard on the body as well, a study found.

The study found that from 1995 to 2012, there was an 11 percent increase in the observed 185, 419 severe depression diagnoses during that time period.

It was found that the transition from summer to standard time “was associated with an increase in the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.” 

“Distress associated with the sudden advancement of sunset, marking the coming of a long period of short days, may explain this finding,” it says.

Coping with seasonal depression may entail slowly building up to your light exposure or developing a nightly routine that may regulate your schedule, experts say.

Sleep and stress are influential factors that can affect your ability cope during potential sleeping disorders.