Daylight saving time shown to cause increase in depression

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Getting an extra hour of sleep may sound nice, but the benefits of the end of daylight saving time might not go much further than that.

Scientists have known for quite some time that changing clocks in March can lead to an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. But there wasn't a lot of concrete evidence that showed the transition back could have adverse effects — until now.

Looking at data from psychiatric hospitals in Denmark, researchers found that rates of depression jumped 11 percent when people set their clocks back to standard time for the winter.

Researchers from Stanford University, Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen analyzed more than 185,000 patients from 1995 to 2012. They found depression rates increased when daylight saving time ended, then slowly went down after 10 weeks.

SEE MORE: Do You Know How Much Sleep Kids Actually Need?

The transition back to standard time means daylight ends earlier. And that hour of difference might explain — at least in part — why so many people experience mood changes when we push our clocks back.

It's especially true for those already prone to depression.

Sunlight has major effects on the brain — it can increase serotonin and help reverse the effects of seasonal depression. Gaining an hour in the morning doesn't counteract losing one in the afternoon.

A seasonal depression expert pointed out time spent up in the morning is often inside and away from the sun, while time in the afternoon is more likely spent outside.

In order to combat the effects of daylight saving time, the researchers suggest maximizing light by getting outside during the morning or opening curtains to let in the sun.

RELATED: Daylight saving time facts

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Daylight Saving Time Facts
Benjamin Franklin essentially came up with this glorious time exchange in 1741, when he was an ambassador for Paris.Though it wasn't until World War I that Europe truly started to implement Daylight Saving Time in order to bolster their war efforts.

DST before 2007 used to fall a few days before Halloween, but since the holiday tends to come with increased accidents it was moved to the first Sunday in November, according to Acurite.

Though, some dispute that the change was made to allow Trick or Treaters to stay out longer. 

Circa 1955: Silhouette of a witch on a broomstick flying over the skyline of New York City, Halloween.

(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

Arizona and Hawaii are the only two U.S. states that don't observe Daylight Saving Time. Pro: they don't have to worry about changing their clocks. Con: they never 'gain an hour.'

When World War II came around-- saving time was fashionable again and everyone wanted to get their hands on daylight saving time. However, it was near complete confusion in the United States-- there was no uniformity. According to Live Science, "One 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, W.Va., to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through no less than seven different time changes."

It was officially adopted by the U.S. in 1966. 

DST can affect the time you're born-- on paper that is. A baby could be born at 1:55 a.m. during daylight saving time, with another born ten minutes later, marked as 1:05 a.m.

Freaky, huh?

We hate to be that person-- but Daylight Saving Time is not plural, though many say and spell it as such. So, if you want to be that person you can spend the day correcting all of your friends when they say "daylight savings time."
Many countries near the equator do not adjust their clocks for daylight saving. Japan and China don't observe DST at all, and Antarctica doesn't either.
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