Brookhaven Retreat, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, prepares for Daylight Saving Time and recognizes the positive effect on mental health.
Soaking up sunlight is a natural way to fight stress and reverse depression. However, when the days are shorter in winter and darkness creeps in so early, we crave what we cannot have. Thankfully, Daylight Savings Time (DST) is here again, meaning we can “spring ahead” (as the expression goes) and set our clocks an hour later on Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. to enjoy more daylight until November when we “fall back” once again and lose an hour.
Brookhaven Retreat looks forward to the heightened moods, a rise in energy and more restful sleep during this time of year for clients.
Sunlight exposure is crucial for avoiding vitamin D deficiency, which research has linked to depression, among other issues. Additionally, sunshine helps regulate the circadian rhythm-the 24-hour cycle that shuts down the production of melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleepiness) during the day and makes you tired when the sun goes down at night.
It stands to reason that the body’s serotonin levels, which regulate sleep, are lower in the winter. Research has shown that unhealthy sleep or not enough of it can lower energy levels, put a damper on your mood, lower your productivity and breakdown your ability to communicate well or even concentrate.
Jacqueline Dawes, founder of Brookhaven Retreat says, “Sleep, depression and anxiety disorders are intertwined. Sleep is a basic need that can be tricky to regulate, especially in the presence of mental illness and addiction.”
Women in mental health treatment at Brookhaven Retreat have a greater benefit of treatment with regulated sleep cycles, meaning going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. With the onset of DST, these schedules are adjusted accordingly.
Dawes adds, “Sleep plays an intricate role for all people, but especially for those being treated for various disorders, which can be exacerbated by erratic sleep patterns. It’s important to get the right amount of sleep because too much creates other issues. Getting outside for an appropriate amount of time every day is also important for mental health. The more daylight we experience, the better we feel.”