Brain scans reveal why sunlight powerfully influences mood

Scientists examine the effect of daylength on the brain’s opioid system.


This winter was rough. Terrible things continued to happen, combined with the fact that it was dark. Sunday’s flip feels almost like a miracle. We sprang forward, allowing for an extra hour of daylight against the backdrop of an increasingly vaccinated world. Winter will always be darker than summer — we can’t change Earth’s axial tilt. But we do have some control over the amount of daylight we’re exposed to. Daylight Saving Time (DST) was first formally implemented in 1916 by Germans.,


It was standardized across the U.S. in 1966 via an act signed by Lyndon B. Johnson. The rationale was to uniformly establish when states pushed their clocks forward or back — rather than having states choose. However, in recent years, two states (Arizona and Hawaii) and several terriroties have voted to break free from DST. Meanwhile, other U.S. lawmakers are currently attempting to make it permanent.

The bipartisan-backed “Sunshine Protection Act” argues a permanent DST would improve mental health, public health, and public safety, citing the research suggesting these benefits would occur. In other countries, governments are trying to ban seasonal clock shifts altogether — no DST, just pick a time and stick with it. Ultimately, time is a construct and one singular fact remains: The Sun affects our brains, and in turn, our mood. came to the United States two years later.

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