Daylight Saving Time and Mental Health

A common assumption is Standard Time = darkness = “bad”, and therefore, DSL = sunlight = “good”. It means summertime is coming. For many parts of the country, it’s a very good thing in terms of improved mental health symptoms. But let’s not forget about the impact of DSL starting with “Spring Forward”. At 2am the second Sunday of March we will lose an hour of sleep. 

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), changes in transitioning to time changes includes an uptick in heart problems, mood disorders, and motor vehicle collisions. Some people also experience insomnia, which causes even more ongoing challenges. When our circadian rhythm is thrown off, our regulation of key bodily functions like appetite and mood are also thrown off. Some people experience symptoms similar to jet lag, far into DSL. 

Having more daylight is such a good thing for our serotonin levels. However, not forget the impact of the darkness in the morning. The result can be difficulty going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning. Keep this in mind for your clients, who might have greater risk due to their mental health conditions. 

For more information, check out our 3-hour course, Sleep Apnea and Mental Health.