Is Daylight Saving Time Unhealthy?

Experts highlight the health effects of daylight saving time


Those of us forced to change our clocks back for Daylight Saving Time might be feeling some ill health effects. Some of those could be long-lasting, according to sleep.

Daylight Saving Time wreaks havoc with our biological clocks

Scientists from Vanderbilt University Medical Center highlight some of unhealthy effects of changing our clocks in Spring and in Fall that include:

The list is pretty profound considering these aren't just minor health risks. 

Health experts agree DST needs to go away

Beth Ann Mallow, MD, Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics in the Sleep Disorders division at Vanderbilt said in a press release:

"People think the one-hour transition is no big deal, that they can get over this in a day, but what they don't realize is their biological clock is out of sync."
That biological clock is deep rooted in the brain and not everyone has a flexible Circadian rhythm. Mallow said the effect time change is "profound" and lasts eight months after we set our clocks forward or back.

The reason Daylight Saving Time is unhealthy is because morning light 'synchronizes' our biological clock. Over time we become sleep deprived, setting us up for stroke and other adverse health events. We lost about 15 to 20 minutes of sleep.

The resurrection of the ill health effects of clock changes comes from commentaries published in JAMA Neurology - the medical community is suggesting it's time for DST to be  eliminated, but it's up to our politicians.

DST became the 'norm' in the 1960s with the belief that it would save energy during the 'oil crisis'. Some people challenge the notion that it does any such thing.

Repeated studies have shown Daylight Saving is just bad for our health

Losing an hour of daylight has been found to increase rates of depression, based on a Denmark study, published May, 2017

A 2006 Finnish study showed a compromise in "sleep efficiedncy" and duration from daylight saving time transitioning. 

If you're in an area that doesn't follow DST you might consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

What are your experiences when we change the clocks forward and back? Do you feel less alert, depressed, sleepy or have more difficulty as a parent or know anyone that has suffered a major health event during a spring or fall time change?

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons














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