But as routine as “fall back an hour” is, the seemingly small temporal change has a huge effect.
In short, sunlight is short supply. And when people don’t get enough rays of sun, depression and sadness sets in.
A little alarmist, yes, because we’ve gone through daylight savings every single year since 1918, but the fact remains: you’re not going to be getting enough sunlight and that’s going to take a toll on your mood.
Let’s just take a gander at the light-levels in Montreal right now to showcase why you’ll be a little miffed until March.
Today, the sun rose at 6:53AM and is going to set at 4:24 PM. Before anyone with a refuel 9-to-5 job is out of the workplace, the shining sun will begin to dim and pretty much be out of the skyline when quitting time rolls around.
By the end of the month, sunset will clock in at 4:12pm. December will have even shorter days.
Oh, you’re probably thinking, but the whole point of daylight savings is to give us all more sunlight during the day.
That’s true, if you’re actually working outside.
Nowadays the majority of jobs are all indoors. So when the sun is actually out, most of us are cooped up indoors until the sun sets back down. For a lot of folks, the only glimmers of actual sunlight they receive is on their commute to work.
A lack of sunlight creates a vitamin D deficiency, linked to bad moods. Next to no sunlight, short days, and cold weather can combine to make your mood even worse, taking you to a “why is the world so awful” kind of place.
It’s called Seasonal Depressive Disorder. SAD isn’t exactly a prevalent mental disorder, but people can still have symptoms or develop milder forms of the disorder.
A lack of energy, feelings of depression, and increased anxiety are all changes in mood individuals experience when the seasons change so drastically. If that sounds like you in February, when the sunlight is still quite sparse, you’re not alone.
Serotonin, the chemical that basically makes you happy, is also in short supply during sunlight-less months. When exposed to bright light, the body excretes serotonin. But again, that’s not going to be happening all that regularly.
Unfortunately, things aren’t going to get better until March 11th. That’s when the clock “springs forward” for the second coming of daylight savings. Or, technically the first, since it’s a new year, but whatever, splitting hairs.
On the glorious day of March 11, the sun will set at 6:54PM. Basically, we’ll have the sun up until 7PM, a reasonable hour that actually allows a majority of the populace to soak up some sunlight.
Until then, however, we’ll have to deal with days where it feels like the sun is never really up. Where your day is jam-packed full of responsibilities (work, class) and then, suddenly, it’s pitch black outside, leaving you saying “where did the day go,” followed by a “God, I hate winter.”
Just remember that life will go back to being tolerable once mid-March arrives. It can’t come quick enough.