Heads up, Monday will be happening an hour earlier! It’s everyone’s least favorite time of year again, Daylight Saving Time. The end of Daylight Saving Time means the rest of our fall and winter days will be darker and, therefore, shorter.
Believe it or not, this can really throw us for a loop! In fact, research shows that it takes 40% of Americans a week to recover from that one lost hour of daylight! That’s because the time change upsets our Circadian Rhythm. (Your circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock in our brain that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in our environment.) Sometimes, that one week of adjustment can last a lot longer. For some, shorter days marked by fewer hours of daylight and more hours of darkness can result in seasonal depression formally diagnosed as “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” more commonly known as S.A.D.
So how does this work?
Well, the neurotransmitter Serotonin helps regulate our moods, and it is believed that the amount of sunlight we get can affect how much serotonin is being produced. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, and therefore, those darker days can result in SAD.
What can you do?
Traditional treatment for SAD is actually consistent with treatment for depression and includes talking to a professional, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or medicine.
A lot of natural remedies to help SAD include:
● Light exposure- improve your light exposure by spending more of the daylight hours actually in the daylight. For even more light, some people use light box therapy.
● Healthy sleep hygiene- a consistent schedule, avoid the urge to hibernate.
● Vitamin D supplement (consult your doctor first)- low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to SAD
● Exercise-preferably outside or with other people.
● Socialize- social health is an important part of overall health and is even more essential during emotional stress.
Daylight Saving: A week of waking up early because small children can’t tell time!
For Kids 3 days before Daylight Saving Time:
● Start gradually adjusting your kid’s bedtime by moving it back for three consecutive days before the time change.
● Increase kid’s physical activities during the day to help tire them out.
● Keep windows in your kids’ rooms covered to block out the sunlight in the morning and help them sleep until their new adjusted wake-up time.
Don’t stress about it too much.
While 10% of people are affected by SAD, 90% will adjust! However, if your symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder don’t improve, consider speaking to a professional like Harmony at Home Coaching for help. Schedule a call HERE
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.
Call or text 988, to be connected to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or connect via chat at 988lifeline.org