Researchers say mental health affected by daylight exposure
SALT LAKE CITY — Daylight saving time in the summer means 15 hours max of sunlight in Utah; with the sun setting around 9 p.m. If the Sunshine Protection Act becomes law, people can expect late sunsets even in winter.
Late sunsets in the winter also mean even later sunrises if daylight saving time becomes permanent.
KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank told Dave and Dujanovic just how late the sunrise would be in Utah during the middle of winter if the Sunshine Protection Act becomes law.
“A sunrise on Christmas day will be 8:50 in the morning and the sunset will be 6:05 at night,” he said. “Where you’re really going to see this impact is going to be in the morning hours during the months of November, December, January, February.”
Eubank also said getting up in the morning is difficult when it is cold and snowy outside. Researchers have found that lack of daylight exposure can be harmful to a person’s mental health.
They found that limited daylight exposure increased mental health distress, even in people affected by seasonal weather or air pollution. The study also found that increased exposure to daylight would decrease mental health distress.
BYU clinical professor Mark Beecher said that in the study, researchers did not see cloudy or polluted days having as strong an effect on mental health as the number of daylight hours subjects were exposed to.
The study itself was examining the effects weather and air pollution had on emotional distress.
A 2016 Danish study also found that the limited daylight hours had an adverse effect on mental health.
In that study, researchers found that admissions into psychiatric hospitals increased 11% two months after daylight saving time ended.