Here's Why Daylight Saving Time Isn't Good For Your Health
© Pixabay/CC0Clock, Daylight Saving Time, DST
Each year, there are two occasions when Americans shift their clocks: on the second Sunday in March and on the first Sunday in November. In March, time "springs" one hour ahead; in November, it "falls" back one hour. Pretty simple...or really complicating.
The annual "springing ahead" in mid-March is connected with serious negative effects on one's health, according to neurology professor Beth Ann Mallow of the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee.
In her article for Science Alert, the professor revealed that the shifts from daylight saving time to standard time and vice versa are not just about disruptions in daily routine, but also about potential increases in strokes, heart attacks, and teen sleep deprivation.
While "falling back" - going back one hour in November - is "relatively benign", it is "springing ahead" that may undermine one's health.
"This is because our clock time is moved an hour later; in other words, it feels like 7 a.m. even though our clocks say it is 8 a.m. So it's a permanent shift to later morning light for almost eight months – not just for the day of the change or a few weeks afterward", Mallow explained.
Exposure to light later into the evening delays the brain's release of melatonin - the hormone that promotes drowsiness. This is something that can interfere with sleep and have an effect that will last a lot longer than it actually takes us to adjust to losing one hour of sleep.
Additionally, there seems to be a geographic impact - the so-called "western edge" effect. People living on the western edge of a time zone end up getting light later in the morning and later in the evening - and eventually getting less sleep than those from the eastern edge of a time zone. Due to what has been dubbed "social jetlag" by the authors of one study, the westerners had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer.
The time debate in the United States escalates every time Americans have to switch their clocks. With "springing forward" scheduled for Sunday, 13 March, social media is already buzzing with discontent and "anticipation" of ruined daily routines.
© Photo : Twitter / @GeorgeTakeiScreenshot
© Photo : Twitter / @GeorgeTakei
© Photo : Twitter / @smhdz_Screenshot
© Photo : Twitter / @smhdz_
© Photo : Twitter / EskimoLibertyScreenshot
© Photo : Twitter / EskimoLiberty
The solution would be to ditch the annual time shifts, but, to make the situation even more complicated, people are split on whether they would stick to daylight saving time or standard time.
© Photo : Twitter / @SaveStandardScreenshot
© Photo : Twitter / @SaveStandard
Some US lawmakers are even pushing legislation to abolish the time shifts.
"I want this weekend to be the last time we change our clocks — and I have a bill to make #DaylightSavingTime permanent that I'm determined to get done. Let's finally end this ridiculous and antiquated tradition", Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) tweeted on Friday.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also took to Twitter to promote his "Sunshine Protection Act", pushing for making daylight saving time permanent.
Other people - as shown by one of the petitions shared on social media - would prefer to end daylight saving time instead and establish standard time as...well, a standard.
According to a YouGov poll conducted in November 2021, the desire to stop annual time shifts is what unites Americans, with about 63 percent voting yes on eliminating the changing of the clocks.
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