Reduce the Impact of Daylight Savings Time
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Tonight marks the point at which we "fall back." It may seem like a perk to get an extra hour of sleep. However, this one-hour time change can affect us negatively. Even a periodic disruption to our sleep routine, not to mention reduced exposure to daylight, can result in mood and energy changes. Whether we gain or lose an hour, Daylight Savings Time disrupts our circadian rhythm. If you are prone to seasonal depression, it's important to mitigate the challenges that come with this one-hour shift. Sleep hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy mood, motivation, focus, and energy levels.
When we fall back, it is initially brighter in the morning but will get darker earlier in the evening. As Winter Solstice (December 21) approaches, the exposure to light decreases considerably. Eventually, we will wake up when it's dark and finish the work day in the dark. Most of us are very aware of this decreased exposure to light and can feel sluggish as a result. For those who are especially sensitive to this reduced exposure, depression results and may last for months.
If you are someone who struggles with depression, try to expose yourself to sunlight as often as you can throughout the day. Spending time outside in direct natural sunlight is ideal. Getting regular exercise while you take in the sunlight can offer an additional mood and energy boost.
For those gray days and for those who find it a challenge to be outside in the cooler temps, exposure to a light box can help. If darker mornings are difficult, a light box can be helpful to jumpstart the day. Light exposure alerts the brain that it's time to release cortisol, which results in the brain waking up to begin the day. A quality and affordable light box can be found here.
There are additional methods to offset mood and energy shifts. Read the following article to get more helpful tips to assist with the impact of Daylight Savings Time.