Dealing with the time change that took place this weekend and getting all your clocks reset is just one of the issues you’ll face as the season changes. Dr. Steve Zorn with Iowa Sleep says you now will be coming home from work in the dark, and that can cause problems. “There’s data that accident rates are worse in the evening — people aren’t used to driving in the dark as much at that time of day,” Zorn says.
He says drivers will eventually adjust. “It usually seems to last a couple of weeks, and then it disappears,” Zorn says. The doctor also treats sleep disorders that are a more longer term problem at this time of year. One of them is Season Affective Disorder or SAD. “Season Affective Disorder is a condition where some people are more sensitive to the lack of light and as a result, when it is dark in the winter months and the earth is rotated, you just don’t get the same amount of sunlight in a 24-hour period,” according the Zorn.
He says the symptoms of SAD include insomnia. “It is a depression, and you just don’t feel as good as you normally would like to feel,” Zorn explains. “Some people say that they feel they are in a hole looking up.”
The doctor says one treatment is simply getting more light into your life. “There are what’s called light boxes, and they have a higher intensity light. I would think about 10,000 lux. You can get these now in many places,” Zorn says. Zorn says people with more severe problems may need to be treated with medication.