CBS NEWS – Gaining an hour of sleep as daylight saving time ends on Nov. 5 might sound like a win, but experts say there are still ways that “falling back” can disrupt our health.
About 3% to 5% of people may develop SAD, says Vanessa Kennedy, director of psychology at Driftwood Recovery, explaining that it typically involves the onset of “depressed mood in the fall or winter seasons when weather conditions become rainy, cold and gloomy for an extended period of time.”
“Reduced hours of sunlight that come along with ending daylight saving time in the fall can exacerbate these symptoms,” she noted.
So how can you cope? Try these tips:
1. Use light to your advantage
“Even though you may have an extra hour of sleep, it’s important to balance that with having some light in the morning,” Steel suggests. “If you go to work after (the time change), and you come home and you’re driving home in the dark, that can certainly increase depression.”
If your schedule or gloomy weather keeps you from experiencing natural light during your day, consider light-box therapy or special lamps that mimic the sun.
“Indoor light-box devices mimic the effects of natural sunlight, contributing to normalization of hormone and vitamin levels and setting up the right biological factors to improve mood,” Kennedy says.
2. Exercise and reframe to boost mood
Need another pick-me-up when light is lacking? Try exercise.
“Regular exercise can increase serotonin levels and boost mood,” Kennedy says. “While exercising outdoors may not always be possible during bad weather, exercising indoors or adopting outdoor fall or winter exercises that incorporate nature can be beneficial.”
Kennedy also suggests reframing the meaning of reduced daylight to give it new significance.
“When it gets dark early, you can enjoy different activities, such as movie nights, holiday lights, evening gatherings, s’mores by a fire, stargazing or developing a more thorough winding-down routine before bed,” she says. “When you develop new associations between reduced daylight and positive activities, your mood can benefit.”
3. Be aware of warning signs
For some people, increased light and movement might not be enough to avoid seasonal depression …