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Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Date:3/12/2010

People with SAD may be more affected by the shift in daylight, experts say ,,,,

FRIDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Most people will welcome the start of daylight savings time this Sunday because it starts to stay light longer, even if that means the early mornings will be dark once again.

However, that shift may not be such a welcome change for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a seasonal depression that occurs in the fall and winter and is caused, at least in part, by the lack of daylight during these seasons. Some experts suspect that light in the morning may be especially important for helping people with SAD, as well as for jumpstarting circadian rhythms in all people.

"In general, in terms of normal sleep patterns, daylight in the morning is better than light later in the day. Remember, our circadian rhythms were set eons ago to a rhythm that didn't include daylight savings time, so the shift tends to throw people off a bit," said Dr. Nicholas Rummo, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

"Daylight savings time is anti-physiologic, and it's a little deleterious, at least for several days," he said, adding that research has shown that the rate of auto accidents goes up slightly in the days following the change to daylight savings time.

For people with SAD, he noted, the shift in daylight may be even more difficult. "Normally, people with SAD start to feel better around this time of the year, and light earlier in the day is more helpful for them," said Rummo.

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that appears during the colder months of the year, and symptoms tend to be at their worst in January and February, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Symptoms of SAD include fatigue, a lack of interest in usual activities, social withdrawal, weight gain and a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, a
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