While many look forward to Daylight Saving Time and having more light at the end of the day, others, especially those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), may find themselves slipping back into depression at this time of year.
SAD, according to experts, is caused by a disturbance in our circadian rhythm. Light entering into the eye controls this rhythm; but, during the winter months when days are shorter we may not be exposed to sufficient light during the morning hours, throwing our circadian rhythm off-balance and creating the symptoms of SAD (depression, fatigue and a craving for sweets).
For those with SAD, the longer days of spring bring relief from depression. The arrival of Daylight Saving Time, however, may cause a temporary return of these symptoms as you are forced to once again wake when it is still dark and may not receive adequate exposure to morning light.
The best treatment for SAD? According to SAD researcher Dr. Michael Terman bright light therapy has the best data supporting it. Bright light therapy involves sitting in front of a device designed for this purpose called a light box for about 30 minutes each morning to simulate the light you would normally get by being outside in sunlight.
Do you fall into a season long slump each winter that lifts as spring approaches? Speak with your doctor about the possibility that you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder.