Health Experts: There’s a correlation between daylight saving time and mental health

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Health experts encourage everyone to mentally and physically prepare for daylight saving time.

Dr. Hermes Mendoza-Zavala, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner said drinking caffeine and alcohol are the worst things to do when trying to adapt to a new time change.

“Alcohol makes you sleep worse a lot of the time, we think it makes us sleep better but it’s actually the contrary,” said Dr. Mendoza-Zavala.

He said it is important to make healthy choices and suggested activities like meditation to get better sleep.

According to Dr. Mendoza-Zavala not getting enough sleep impacts decision making and staying on top of tasks at work.

Dr. Chris Casso, a Family Medicine Physician with South Texas Health System expressed there is a correlation between mental health and daylight saving. 

She said daylight saving is meant to help us get more exposure to sunlight but psychologically it may not feel that way.

“That transition may not be as hard but psychologically though, it does feel like we end up getting less sun because the days are shorter,” she said. 

According to Dr. Casso, it is important to make an effort to get daily sunlight exposure to improve our health.

“Less sun means less Vitamin D so that can lead to less Vitamin D efficiencies and fatigue and some people experience some seasonal affective disorders like some people experience depression or anxiety because of the lack of sun exposure,” she said.

Dr. Casso said those who work indoors should try to make an effort to step outside during lunch or a work break.

She advises adults to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep and children nine to ten hours of sleep.

Dr. Mendoza-Zavala said anyone who is struggling with their mental health should seek professional help and encourages everyone to be aware of the National Suicide Hotline number: 1-800-273-8255.

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