The eve of November brings with it Halloween, the end of daylight savings time, the final days before the 2020 election, a steadily increasing rate of Covid cases and temperature drops around the country. Somewhat disparate and somewhat intertwined, this cacophony of circumstances can lead many people to darker places, both literally and emotionally. And while anyone might rationally feel down these days for any one of the reasons above — or a combination of them — winter alone has always had the power to affect anyone suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a serious depression that lasts longer than two weeks.
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SKIP AHEAD Best sunrise clocks
In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has in some ways leveled the playing field for those who’re used to dealing with SAD every winter and those trying their best to adjust to the new reality. Regardless, experts agree that sleeplessness is rising alongside the pandemic, causing problems for anyone affected, no matter the reason. To help combat the onset of SAD, depression, mood swings or just a general feeling of lackluster, some medical experts recommend light therapy, which comes in many shapes and sizes. Given that term’s proximity to so-called sunrise clocks, which have garnered increasing interest from readers in recent weeks, we looked into what buying one entails.
Sunrise clocks — which are not considered light therapy products — aim to simulate the rising sun, setting sun or both to help you get increasingly better and more restful sleep. Should you grab a sunrise alarm clock? We consulted medical experts on what these devices — available from brands like Philips, Amazon, Casper and others — can do for you, as well as what they can’t.
Sunrise clocks for better sleep
“The beauty of sunrise clocks,” explained Seema Khosla, MD, the medical director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep, is that they can help you reach a “gentle awakening.” What does that mean? Your body’s circadian rhythm is an internal mechanism that regulates various processes within any given day or 24-hour cycle, one significant standout among those being the sleep-wake cycle. A gentle awakening is a healthy way to arise from slumber.
Sunrise clocks and sleep trackers aim to help you wake up at the right time for your body, that being when you’ve reached an optimal time to leave the sleep state and enter the waking state. Disrupting that rhythm can push you to sleeplessness or sleep deprivation, which can have significant effects on your wellness, from weight gain and mood swings to lack of alertness and even memory loss.
If you’re someone that takes 12 alarms to wake up, light won’t work.
Seema Khosla, MD, medical director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep
So how does a sunrise clock help? It lights up your space gradually and slowly over time, allowing your body to react to this “natural” light and wake in
There has been increased support for abolishing putting the clocks back this weekend so that UK doesn’t face shorter days along with increasing coronavirus restrictions.
The clocks are due to go back one hour on 25 October at 2am, bringing an end to British Summer Time (BST) and reverting back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
This will mean lighter mornings but an earlier sunset, with darkness due to fall at around 4pm in December.
But Chris Difford, a founding member of the band Squeeze, has now set up a petition urging the government to not put the clocks back, saying the new normal is frightening for a lot of people and that natural light is “one of the greatest tonics for mental health”.
Financial expert Martin Lewis also urged the government to abolish the change this year, saying it would “cheer most of the nation up in this torrid time”.
A suggestion for @BorisJohnson. If you want to cheer most of the nation up in this torrid time… don’t put the clocks back this Sunday. Allow people a little more daylight in the afternoon / evening to go outside and enjoy.
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) October 21, 2020
Addressing Boris Johnson on Twitter, Lewis wrote: “Don’t put the clocks back this Sunday. Allow people a little more daylight in the afternoon/evening to go outside and enjoy.”
The calls come after the European Parliament backed a proposal to stop changing the clocks in the European Union.
If it is adopted, EU nations could change the clocks for the last time as early as 2021.
Difford has set up a Change.org petition calling for the change not to take place as the country grapples with the virus and while people “get on their feet”.
He told the PA news agency: “I think it’s particularly difficult in this pandemic for younger people to be positive about what’s going on, and I think for them to spend most of their time in the dark is only going to make things worse for them.
“I’m a very tiny voice in all of this, I understand that, and some people will probably think it’s a bit of a whim and a bit of a mad thing to ask for, but who knows, you never know where these things can go.”
Difford added that it would be “amazing” if businesses allowed and encouraged their workers to take half an hour during their working day to get outside in the fresh air.
Watch: All you need to know on the clocks going back
He said: “Like having light in the day, exercise is just as important. We are in a new situation here, this is the new now, and I believe if we are going to be saddled with the new now for a long time, people should be allowed to change the way that they live.”