Daylight Saving Time has ended. Here’s how to make the most of your time and combat seasonal mental health issues
(CNN) — You’ve turned back your clocks for Daylight Saving Time, but what now?
Many people look forward to that extra hour of sleep, but it’s not enough to erase chronic sleep debt, said Dr. Kannan Ramar, professor of medicine at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
However, the additional hour of rest could have you waking up feeling more refreshed, which may motivate you to get more shut-eye, he said.
This is a great time to implement healthy “sleep hygiene” practices, which will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep, Ramar said.
Set up a sleep routine
He recommended going to sleep around the same time each night, making sure you’re going to sleep early enough to get seven to eight hours of rest.
In the 30 minutes before bedtime, begin shutting off electronics to limit your exposure to light, Ramar explained.
If after 20 minutes you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and do a quiet activity like meditation, he said. This is not the time to jump back on your electronics, he warned.
Avoid eating a large meal before bedtime, and cut off your caffeine intake in the afternoon, Ramar advised. Make sure to reduce your fluid intake before bed and avoid alcohol around this time, he added.
If those tips do not work for you, Ramar recommended you speak to a medical professional.
A rise in seasonal affective disorder
As the nights grow longer and the weather becomes bleaker in parts of the country, people may develop seasonal affective disorder. It’s a specific type of depression that often begins in the fall and ends in the spring, said Michelle Drerup, director of behavioral sleep medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center in Ohio.
Some common symptoms include irritability, extreme fatigue, inability to concentrate, carbohydrate cravings, anxiety, and withdrawal from social activities, she said.
The time change from Daylight Saving Time ending can trigger SAD, Drerup said.
A study published in 2017 found there was an 11% increase in the number of seasonal depressive episodes at the end of daylight saving.
Light exposure boosts mood
People with seasonal affective disorder should try to expose themselves to bright, natural light when possible, said Dr. Bhanu Prakash Kolla, an addiction psychiatrist and sleep physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The rays of light increase the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, known as the “happy hormone.”
Those in gloomier parts of the country can use a light box to mimic sunlight, he said.
If you notice the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are significantly impacting your ability to function for more than two weeks, Drerup recommended seeing a doctor. A medical professional can help diagnose you, evaluate for other possible mental health conditions, and provide a personalized treatment plan.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Today’s Top Stories
- Former BYU professor charged with 5 more counts of forcible sexual abuse
- After being hit by a bus, Ryan Hamilton announces changes to performance schedule
- Free fares across entire UTA system for the month of February
- Spirit Airlines comes to Salt Lake City Airport
- Police now have persons of interest in Moab double murder case
- Man in custody following high-speed chase through Utah County
- Bill aimed to ‘save’ Great Salt Lake to be introduced this legislative session
- Jennie Nguyen removed from Real Housewives of SLC
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints moving missionaries out of Ukraine
- Teacher claims school district retaliated against her after she reported students were…