Possible changes in daylight saving could bring benefits

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It’s 4:00 p.m., and the sun is starting to set. The day suddenly feels wasted, and that sluggish feeling overwhelms the body. But suddenly, the mind starts changing with the lack of sunlight, and the sluggish feeling never seems to go away.
The changing season impacts more than just the surface, but seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects 10 million Americans, according to “Psychology Today.” Symptoms overlap with depression, but only occur with seasonal changes. Illinois is considering passing a new law that would prevent the changing of daylight saving time and keep the extra hour of the day. The change would provide benefits to those affected by SAD for it would keep the extra hour of daytime.
“Psychology Today” records that symptoms may include “feelings of hopelessness and sadness, hypersomnia, a change in appetite, weight gain, decreased physical activity, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and avoidance of social situations.”
These symptoms enormously affect people in terms of their mood, energy, and mental state. Mentally, there are ways to decrease the risk. One way is to have access to vitamin D.
“Sunlight provides a key nutrient of vitamin D that can help produce serotonin, or the happy chemicals in our brain,” said health teacher Melissa Smith.
It is key that everyone gets the sufficient amount of both vitamin D and serotonin in order to navigate through the day without experincing the symptoms that would inhibit efficiency. When there is a lack of dopamine or serotonin in the brain, depression can occur.
“We assure that we take a depression inventory in our classes to monitor how our students feel,” Smith said.
Dr. Wesley Clevenger, the school psychologist, advises that the change can be help students who deal with SAD adjust.
“It’s been recorded that those who live in places with longer winter nights are at a higher risk of developing SAD,” Clevenger said.
By having the extra hour, there would be an increase of opportunity in order to receive extra sunlight. It would also help those affected by SAD to obtain key nutrients.
Other forms to treat SAD such as light therapy are hard to come by due to the fact that it’s not regulated by the FDA.
“It’s hard to recommend other treatments that aren’t diagnostics because the FDA regulates other forms of care,” Smith said.
Since most treatments are restricted in the U.S., it’s beneficial that we are open to new methods in order to benefit everyone. Though some may object, the change could bring benefits to a subgroup of those who especially struggle during the winter season and hopefully lighten the moods of Illinois residents everywhere.