Medical experts say daylight saving time can cause mental health issues
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Daylight saving time starts this weekend, requiring people to push their clocks ahead, while losing an hour of sleep.
According to River Edge Behavioral Health’s Director of Macon-Bibb County Services, Ashley Allen, losing an hour can impact the body’s natural clock and mental health.
“Some people when they don’t get enough sleep can experience depression,” Allen said.
Allen says there is a correlation with a distorted sleep pattern and a potential mental health challenge. She says if someone is already struggling with mental health, a lack of sleep can heighten the problem.
“If we are not getting enough sleep, our brains are not functioning the best it can,” Allen said. “Our chemicals may not be working exactly right.”
That can then lead to mood swings, which Allen says can be as bad as depression.
“That’s why a lot of people would say that if they haven’t slept well they don’t feel well,” Allen said.
Experiencing sleepless nights? Allen says that likely means the body’s sleep pattern was thrown off.
She says any change can cause this, but there are ways to keep the body’s natural clock on time.
Allen says you should change your sleep pattern before daylight saving time so you can get into the habit of waking up earlier. She says try to avoid screen time an hour before heading to bed. Also, limit those daytime naps.
“Try to limit it to less than 20 minutes,” Allen suggested. “Because if you take a long nap during the day, it’s going to be harder for you to fall asleep at night.”
Another way to break those depression spells? Allen says to do exercise outside while enjoying the sun. She says sunlight throughout the day helps the body regulate your sleep pattern.