Tomorrow marks the end of Daylight Saving Time when we turn clocks back one hour.
According to Scott Bea, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic, when it gets darker outside sooner, it can impact our likelihood of developing seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
”Of course we know people in Florida aren’t going to suffer quite as much,” says Dr. Bea.
Research shows the rate of seasonal affective disorder down there is about 1.4 percent, but if you get up to New Hampshire, its about 9.7 percent. So where you exist in relation to the equator makes a difference.
Dr. Bea says SAD is marked by 3 things:
Research has shown that women tend to suffer from SAD about four times as much as men do, but when men develop symptoms, they tend to be more severe.
In addition to longer periods of darkness, the grayness of winter impacts a lot of people.
About four percent of folks will experience SAD during the winter, while another ten percent will get winter blues.
Dr. Bea says light therapy works for many people. He suggests getting a light-therapy lamp, sitting in front of it for about 30 minutes every day, ideally in the morning.
Starting light therapy as early as October and keeping it going through the spring will provide the most benefit.
And, if nothing else, Dr. Bea says just getting outdoors more often can help too.
”What people do is they stay indoors and so they dont get ordinary light exposure. One of the problems is we’re not outside enough, even on a cloudy day, if youre outside for thirty minutes in the morning, youre going to get enough light exposure and that seems to make a difference.”
Dr. Bea also suggests creating social obligations – meeting up with other people or perhaps taking up an exercise program – can be beneficial for our mental health during colder months.
Again, to keep smiling through darker, colder weather follow these tips:
- GET OUTDOORS, ESPECIALLY IN MORNINGS FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES
- SOCIALIZE WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS -LAUGHTER!
- MAINTAIN A DAILY EXERCISE ROUTINE
- USE LIGHT THERAPY 30 MINUTES DAILY UNTIL SPRING
If you’ve used light therapy in the past, we’d love to hear from you.
There are several brands available on Amazon from small portable ones you can place on your desk for about $39. and ones costing up into the hundreds so if you’ve used one, please let us know if and how it worked for you!