Students struggle with winter’s diminishing daylight
After daylight saving time ended on Nov. 7, some students are facing increased stress levels as they have one less hour of sunlight during their days.
Yasmine Halmane, Staff Photographer
With the number of minutes of daylight in New Haven dropping each week, some students have expressed increased stress levels as they head into the final few weeks of the semester.
Students explained that they are still adjusting to the change as they start to leave their discussion sections in the dark, their days feel shorter and melatonin initiates earlier in the day. Jaden Gonzalez ’25 said that, even after living in New York his whole life, he finds the whole concept of daylight saving to be confusing and said he felt “victimized” by its occurrence.
“Personally, I respond really well to daytime,” Gonzalez said. “I know nothing about the occurrence and why it happens, but I know that I genuinely have worse days because I cannot enjoy the sun as much as I normally could.”
Students are also particularly concerned about seasonal affective disorder and mood changes associated with the early darkness.
Angel Lopez ’25 expressed his concerns about the toll it will take on the student body’s mental health — and his own, being from the West Coast.
“I feel like [the daylight saving time change] speeds up and advances seasonal depression,” Lopez said. “Since I am from California, I feel like the snow, cold and the wind will all get to me really fast. Time is valuable here at Yale, and when it is dark at 5 p.m., I feel like I should be going to bed but I still have five more hours of grinding left of my day which makes it harder for my body to focus.”
Yale Mental Health and Counseling is also concerned about the impact of shorter days on students’ mental health. Students usually need more support when the weather changes to winter. But Paul Hoffman, director of MHC, enumerated several ways in which students can avoid seasonal affective disorder.
“When students stay up late and sleep in, they lose valuable daylight time, making them more susceptible to seasonal mood problems.” Hoffman said. “I would suggest students make an effort to be outside as much as possible during the winter when the sun is out. Another option is light therapy lamps which can mimic the sunlight and have proven to be effective in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Students should always seek medical advice before using a light therapy lamp.”
It will be difficult for students to implement this into their lives, Hoffman said, because of the shift in their routine. He explained that one of the biggest challenges for students around daylight saving time is related to how students’ schedules shift to later in the day, especially on weekends.
Daylight saving time ended on Nov. 7.