1

The Relationship Between Depression & Daylight Savings Time

On Nov. 4, it’ll be time for many people to turn back their clocks one hour, switching from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. The thrill of getting some extra sleep is short-lived for a lot of people, though. The decrease in hours of sunshine can lead some to suffer from the “winter blues” or develop a depressive condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, SAD is thought to be related to seasonal variations in light. The “biological internal clock” in the brain that regulates our circadian rhythms responds to changes in season, partly because of the differences in the length of the day.

For thousands of years, human beings’ lives revolved around the daily cycle of light and dark. We were up and busy when the sun shone; we slept when the world was dark. Although electricity lets us be active at night, too, our biological clocks may still be telling our bodies to sleep as the days shorten.

This phenomenon puts us out of step with our daily schedules, which no longer change according to the seasons.

Millions of Canadians suffer from the winter blues, while 2-3% develop the more serious SAD. And women are 8X more likely than men to suffer from SAD.

Learn some of the symptoms of SAD.

And here are five ways to help your workers cope with the winter blues.

You can also go to Safety Smart for more information on SAD and its treatment. Not a subscriber to SafetySmart? Sign up for a free trial.