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I’ve always thought the daylight savings time was stressful.
And I know that I’m not the only one who is affected by daylight savings.
Most people think that daylight savings affects them and stresses them out.
They dismiss it as a “perception.”
But now I know daylight savings time really is stressful.
Time changes cause depression.
In this newsletter, I’ll show you proof that setting the clocks back is stressful.
And I’ll show you what you can do about it.
We investigated the effects of daylight savings time transitions on the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.
Yes, this is an investigation of the effects that setting back the clocks at the end of daylight savings time has on depression.
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And it focuses specifically on if the time changes cause depression episodes.
So I’m not going to keep you in suspense.
It turns out that setting the clocks back in the fall causes a bunch of depression episodes.
Many of these episodes are severe enough to result in hospitalization.
The good news is that putting the clocks forward in the spring doesn’t cause the same problems.
Researchers didn’t find any increase in depression or hospitalization for depression in the spring.
Distress associated with the sudden advancement of sunset, marking the coming of a long period of short days, may explain this finding.
This article is built on a study out of Copenhagen, Denmark.
So you can imagine that part of the reason for this may be that people say, “Oh my gosh, the days are going to get really short.”
And they get really depressed.
It may have nothing to do with the clocks.
However, there probably is something to the sudden change which setting the clocks back represents.
To be clear, what I mean is that it’s not just that the days are going to get shorter as winter approaches.
It’s also that all the sudden you lose daylight.
It gets dark much earlier,
And then we go and change the clocks so that every part of our day is reset.
You wake and go to bed at the same time, but it’s not really the same time anymore.
Eating habits shift, your most alert times of the day shift — everything shifts.
This messes with your body, hormones, and your mind.
It’s a recipe for what triggers depression.
So, what do you do about this kind of depression?
Is there a way to avoid it — without dangerous pills?
This next study has an answer that may help most people.
It’s a study out of Australia, and it’s big news.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about it again for another newsletter.
But for today, let’s focus on how it helps with the time changes.
Now, in Australia, medicine is very centralized.
So when they do a study, they have all of the records in one central database.
Researchers can do some slicing and dicing without violating confidentiality.
This kind of access is very advantageous for studies.
Even with confidentiality, it’s still much simpler to invite qualifying volunteers to participate in studies.
So the researchers were able to do a study of living people over the age of 70 years old and aspirin.
And it’s a double-blind study — so nobody knew who was getting the aspirin and who is getting the placebo.
So they proved that aspirin reduces depression.
Participants didn’t get much aspirin either.
They received about equivalent to one-third of an adult aspirin tablet — or a little bit bigger than a baby aspirin.
Although the research is still ongoing, there are other studies that show aspirin can reduce or eliminate depression.
As one of the investigators writes about this study:
“The early research that we did on the treatments people took to manage depression showed a percentage of people took painkillers to help,” she said.
“At the time we thought that this was because depression was mentally ‘painful,’ but perhaps people found that taking painkillers (including aspirin) may actually have been helpful through some other mechanism.”
It’s definitely worthwhile to consider using aspirin if you’re prone to depression.
You can try a little bit of aspirin to see if it helps prevent depressive episodes.
Or you can take it to help treat depression if you’re feeling it.
Of course, if you’re massively depressed this may not help.
But if you’re just mildly depressed, it may help.
If you are a bit upset, or if you have cope with seasonal affective disorder, aspirin could be an option.
But as usual, I want you to talk to your doctor before you do anything.
Don’t just listen to me… I’m providing information for you to make an informed choice with your doctor.
- Daylight savings time transitions and the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodeshttp://journals.lww.com/epidem/Abstract/publishahead/Daylight_savings_time_transitions_and_the.98946.aspx
- Could an aspirin a day keep depression away?http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/could-an-aspirin-a-day-keep-depression-away-20160719-gq8t11.html
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