Daylight Saving Time (DST) refers to the practice of adjusting or setting the clock ahead in spring and back in fall. This year's seasonal time change began on Sunday, March 13, at 2:00 AM. Clocks were set forward by one hour, and the day of the switch had 23 hours. The DST period ends on Sunday, November 6, at 2:00 AM. The clock will be set back by one hour, and the day of the switch will have 25 hours.
Since DST affects the schedule of daily routines, it may cause seasonal depression in senior citizens. Fortunately, preparing for the end of Daylight Saving Time can help minimize the impacts of the change.
How DST Impacts Morning and Evening Activities
Daylight Saving Time practice has no impact on the amount of daylight there is in a day. It only changes when you experience daylight. The summers remain long and bright, while winters continue to be short and dark. However, DST affects civil time by changing the time people normally schedule their daily routines and shifting it in relation to solar time.
How DST Leads to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
A study on how daylight savings time transitions affect the rate of unipolar depressive episodes showed an 11% increase in depressive episodes during the transition from DST to standard time. But how does this happen? The circadian rhythm is an internal clock in the human body that regulates when to sleep, wake up and eat. At night, when darkness penetrates the eyes, a hormonal signal goes to the brain, informing the time to sleep. On the other hand, another signal is transmitted to the brain whenever light enters the eye, informing the time to wake up.
As the end of DST approaches, the sun sets earlier while days become shorter and darker. The reduced exposure to light can disrupt the circadian rhythm, and consequently, one may suffer seasonal depression due to a disruption in the body's circadian clock. The depression may also worsen after time changes occur at the end of DST. The bodies struggle to adjust to the new light and time frame.
Minimizing the Impacts of the Change
Below are steps that can help seniors minimize the impacts of the change:
Reduced exposure to light during the transition is among the factors leading to seasonal depression. Seniors can optimize natural lighting by opening all blinds in the living area. Investing in a light therapy lamp would also be a good idea, especially if natural light is insufficient.
Spend Your Mornings Outside
Seniors should consider taking a walk first thing in the morning. Going outdoors in the morning can help wake the brain and trigger the release of feel-good chemicals. This can help ward off seasonal depression and make them feel happier.
Prepare a To-Do List of Pleasant Things
Senior citizens can impact mental wellness by making time for things they love. In fact, writing the events into a calendar can help as it gives them something to look forward to.
Get In-Home Care from Professionals
The time change set to occur at the end of Daylight Saving Time in November may cause seasonal depression in senior citizens as they get used to the new time frame. Fortunately, Senior Helpers of Portland West can help senior citizens in Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Sherwood, and the surrounding areas prepare for the transition and minimize the impact of time shifts.
Our experienced caregivers create a caring and compassionate environment and help seniors remain comfortable during the winter months. They prepare a personalized care plan for senior loved ones to meet their individual needs. Contact our Portland West team for more details.