Travis Nguyen/Photo Editor
Shorter days and longer nights from daylights savings have mental and physical effects
Don’t get me wrong, I love the colder seasons. Halloween, Christmas, doing winter festivities, the snow and much more. But I do not like when it’s pitch black outside by 5 p.m. and the day that felt as though it just started is already done.
It confuses me because, although I’ll still have classes, meetings or work after the sun sets, it becomes hard for my brain to wrap around the notion that I’ll be working for hours in complete darkness.
We may not truly even realize it, but we do rely on the sun for a lot. When it comes to the simplicities of aiding our health, the sun is a great mood booster and important for your physical health as a whole.
Light is the most powerful regulator of our internal clock, known as our circadian rhythm. In fact, some people may not even adjust to the time change after several months. We also rely on the sun everyday without even knowing.
We use it as a way to tell time in our day-to-day lives. It nurtures the food and plants that we need, it keeps our ecosystems growing and it keeps our earth moving. With these shorter and colder days, we see the sun less, which has large effects on us both physically and mentally.
The shorter and colder days can also cause depression to increase in prevalence. The darkness and coldness limits how often we go out and we can begin to feel isolated. As university students, it becomes difficult for many to have the motivation to do work when it feels as though it is night-time and one should be unwinding instead.
This is where seasonal affective disorder comes in, also known as seasonal depression or the winter blues. One way to recognize the symptoms of SAD is if you feel normal during spring and summer, then feel drained with your energy and mood as days get shorter during winter, almost like you want to hibernate.
The lack of sunlight can cause cluster headaches that can cause pain for days or weeks on end. If you’re not getting enough sleep during this transition, this can lead to increased levels of a hormone called ghrelin which regulates hunger and may cause an increase in appetite.
It is important that you keep your mental health in check and professionals recommend taking Vitamin D supplements during this time, seeking help if you need it, eating healthier and maintaining some kind of physical activity during the cold months.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, focusing on one’s self and still taking it easy will help immensely. It is a difficult shift for many, but attempting to balance everything in a healthy way can improve one’s physical and mental health during these cold months.