Robin Williams
The late comedian Robin Williams fought a long battle with depressionReuters

Danish researchers have found what they believe to be another risk factor that can trigger depression, and it is also one that the population cannot control: th end of daylight saving time, according to Yahoo News.

It's been found in previous research that exposure to sunlight may help people with depression and that people who live in areas where it is dark for longer periods of time are more likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a form of depression caused by too little sunlight.

Professor Søren D. Østergaard and his research team from Aarhus University Hospital in Risskov, Denmark, analyzed 185,419 depression diagnoses that occurred between 1995 and 2012, making the study one that spanned nearly two decades of data.

The study showed that the percentage of patients diagnosed with depression while inpatient at hospitals rises immediately after moving from daylight savings time to standard time. The number of cases of reported depression was eight percent higher than the control group.

The study accounted for variables such as weather and temperature, and the team of researchers said that they felt confident that the rise was due to the change from daylight savings time to standard time.



Although the study could not pinpoint exactly why this may cause depression, researchers said they believe it is because Daylight Savings Time adds an hour of daylight to the morning, which many people may not benefit from because they are either sleeping or beginning their work or school day.

Then, at the end of the day, when many individuals may have an opportunity to go outside in the sun, it has already grown dark.

This means that most people experience a lack of sunlight directly as a result, which may change brain chemistry and may contribute to the development of clinical depression, particularly if other risk factors are present.

Researchers agree that getting up earlier to experience sunlight or to work or study by a window with copious amounts of sunlight may be advisable for those who are prone to depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and lamp therapy have all been shown to be beneficial as well.