Is Daylight Saving Time Good For You? No, Scientists Say, Pointing To Wasted Sleep

Ongoing warnings from medical professionals about the negative effects of daylight saving time on human health, particularly the disruption of the body’s natural sleep rhythm, are reassuringly ignored.

Dr. Sabra Abbott, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern Medicine’s sleep medicine department, told USA TODAY, “Every year, it’s the same scenario.”

Is Daylight Saving Time Good For You? No, Scientists Say, Pointing To Wasted Sleep
Is Daylight Saving Time Good For You? No, Scientists Say, Pointing To Wasted Sleep

Abbott said, “We’re dealing with conflicting clocks,” explaining that our biological clocks often sync with the sun rather than the time on our phones. The length of the day’s daylight varies with the season and your location, but daylight saving time causes us to be even farther from the “sun clock,” as some have put it.

The zenith of the day is often around midday in the hemisphere that uses standard time. Abbott argued that “the link between the wall clock and the solar clock is plainly twisted” after the switch to daylight saving time.

Because of it, you could find it difficult to get enough rest.

Have you been having trouble sleeping?

When DST is in effect, most people find it more difficult to get up in the morning since the sky is darker for a longer period of time. As a result, many people have trouble going to sleep as daylight continues for longer.

At this time of year, when daylight saving time is about to expire, “the main difficulty is our internal clock doesn’t recognize it’s time to get up,” Dr. Jennifer Martin, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told USA TODAY.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), which regulates daylight saving time, claims that doing so saves energy, decreases crime, and avoids traffic accidents. Although some argue that the advantages of the time change exceed the risks to health, many medical professionals are not convinced.

Martin argued that although there could be some unproven advantages, there are definitely some established negatives.

No one would argue that getting enough quality sleep isn’t important. Long-term sleep deprivation has been associated to an increased risk of depression, drug use disorder, cardiovascular disease, and more, according to a number of studies, including several that focus particularly at the health implications of daylight saving time.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine released a position statement in 2020 advocating for the permanent end of DST and the widespread implementation of standard time all year round due to the negative health effects associated with seasonal time changes.

Wall clocks need to be adjusted twice yearly if you live in one of the 48 states that observe daylight saving time. When spring arrives, it’s time to spring forward one hour ahead of standard time for the yearly period known as “daylight savings time,” which lasts until around the middle of September.

To mark the passing of daylight saving time, most of the nation will set their clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 4.

When the United States returns to standard time on the first Sunday in November, most individuals find the transition to be “the simpler (time change) to adjust to,” according to Abbott, who also recommends taking “advantage of that period to try to get a little bit of more sleep.”

Even so, there may be a learning curve. Martin explains that new parents and those who suffer from sleep disorders like sleeplessness are especially vulnerable.

Despite the fact that “most of us sense the disturbance in the spring when we lose an hour of the evening,” Martin said that some individuals still have trouble adapting in the autumn when clocks are turned back. It’s like experiencing mild jet lag twice a year, he said.

 

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