EXPERTS: How can the end of daylight savings time affect your mental health?

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Since daylight savings time ended last weekend some might be having a hard time adjusting to not seeing the sun as often. Health experts say now is the time many could start to feel signs of seasonal depression. An associate psychology professor at Michigan State University says it’s normal for your mood and energy level to change around this time.

Your clocks aren’t the only thing that changes this time of year, so can your mental state.
“Regardless if you’re a morning person or evening person, the days are getting shorter and it gets dark so early. Losing lots of daylight is going to cause some impact on our mental health,” said Lilly Yan, an Associate Psychology Professor at MSU.

Yan says it starts with your circadian rhythm clock.

“What it does is coordinate the daily rhythms of our body function. When there is less light in the environment it can affect our circadian clock,” she said.

So if you feel like you have less energy and maybe a little more tired, it’s normal.
“We lost an hour of daylight, that’s going to affect all those domains of body functions and that’s what makes us feel tired, sleepy during the day. It may also affect sleep quality at night,” said Yan.

For some, it could lead to seasonal depression also known as seasonal affective disorder. Yan and her team are researching how sunlight affects mental health.

“It’s a chemical signal in your brain that’s responding to the changes of light conditions that cause a lot of downstream effects. So behaviors in related to sleep, and relate to emotional response and memory, a cognitive function,” she said.

Yan suggests seeking professional help for people dealing with signs of depression like loss of interest, suicidal thoughts and changes in your energy level and mood.

She also suggests trying to get more sunlight into your day to say by going outside more. Also take care of your circadian rhythm clock.


“Keep a daily routine and try to wake up in the morning and go to bed always at the same time,” she said.

What can also help with getting better light into your routine is getting yellow softer lights in your house compared to harsh white ones, which are often used in workspaces and offices.

Yan and her research team hope to

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