Most of us look forward to daylight savings time in the fall; it is the one night a year that we gain another hour to rest our tired eyes. But for some, this change in time which leads to another hour of darkness at night, can be hard to handle.
A recent study found that the number of depression cases at psychiatric hospitals in Denmark goes up almost immediately after transitioning from daylight savings time. Mental health researchers had studied 185,419 depression cases from 1995 all the way to 2012 where depression cases were shown to have an 11% increase at this time, only to diminish just 10 weeks later.
Researchers from Aarthus, Copenhagen, and Stanford’s psychiatry and political science departments were already aware of the negative effects of daylight savings time. They also included other negative side effects such as increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Researchers were trying to locate the true standard time, particularly because the time change affects people around the word and disturbs their circadian rhythms.
“The results should give rise to increased awareness of depression in the weeks following the transition to standard time,” said Dr. Søren D. Østergaard, one of five study authors and an associate professor at Aarhus University.
“This is especially true for people that are prone to develop depression, as well as their relatives, who may be the first ones to notice the depressive symptoms.”