Preserving happiness at the end of Daylight Savings Time

Many psychiatrists and others have noticed there seems to be an increase in depression once daylight savings time ends.  Danish researchers decided to collaborate with researchers from Stamford to see if this perception is truly accurate.

Using a database of 185,419 people diagnosed with depression between 1995 and 2012, they compared rates of diagnosis before and after Spring and Fall time changes.  They found that  “the transitions from summer time to standard time were associated with an 11 percent increase . . . in the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.” Oddly enough there was no decrease in depression diagnoses after the Spring time change.

Those at risk of depression may wish to consider the following; separately or together.

1) Use a light box w/ a minimum 10,000 Lux intensity every morning. For years these have been used by those with SAD but a growing body of evidence is indicating they can be beneficial for other depressive conditions as well. Use for 20-30 minutes each morning upon awakening. Turn on the bedroom lights first to avoid eye strain

There is a caveat. When looking at the Lux rating you need to check at what distance the intensity is rated. Light intensity drops very rapidly with distance so you will need to keep the light source within 6 inches of your eyes if using a lower powered unit. More powerful versions are good for 12-16 inches. The lower the intensity, the longer the duration needed to gain the same effect. Note: This is not recommended for those with bipolar due to concerns about the possibility of triggering mania.

I suggest keeping the lamp beside your bed. Start at a distance comfortable to your eyes and move closer as your ayes adapt.  You will find that once you turn the lamp off, things will look very dim until your pupils expand to adapt to normal lighting conditions.

2) Keep the same time at first and only wake up a little later each day. Don’t take the whole hour in one chunk. Let your circadian rhythms adapt little by little

3) Watch what you eat for the next couple of weeks in particular.  Every single body and brain chemical is created from air and what goes in your mouth.  Junk food makes it harder for the body and mind to adapt to change.  In addition, researchers are discovering a strong inflammation/depression connection. Sugar/fructose and refined carbohydrates are highly inflammatory.

4) Given the link between inflammation and depression, bring inflammation under control.  If needed, I have safe, powerful, non-drug options which carry a money back guarantee if clients don’t quickly show a satisfactory response.

5) Get some exercise; even if it’s only a 20 minute walk each day. Avoid strenuous exercise less than 2 hours before bed time.

Feel free to contact me in person with questions.

Here’s to a happy Fall.

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