Fall Back? Mood and the Time Change

For those of our readers who live in the northern hemisphere this is the time when many people experience symptoms of seasonal depression.

It is the time when the length of the day is shrinking most rapidly.

And this weekend in the United States we will switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time with the result that many of us will start getting up about an hour later by solar time.

For people with a seasonal component to their mood that means they are at risk of worsening depression since waking up later in the morning is one of the best ways of increasing depression, just as waking up earlier in the morning is one of the best ways of reducing depression.

As we do every year we encourage our readers to consider sticking to the same schedule before and after the return to standard time (not sleeping in).

You will have to wrap your head around the fact that by waking up at exactly the same solar time everyday you will be getting up an hour earlier (according to the clock), starting on Sunday.

In other words you have to reject the lure of a “free” hour in the Fall.

The advantage is that you will be significantly reducing your risk of a sudden increase in depressive symptoms (all the more important this year in the face of the political turmoil of Election Day).