Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting clocks forward by one hour during the summer months and then back one hour in the fall to make better use of daylight. While the benefits and drawbacks of DST are debated, there are some potential health risks associated with switching to DST:
Sleep disruption: Changing the clock forward or backward can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation, fatigue, and decreased cognitive function. Studies have found an increase in the number of car accidents, workplace accidents, and heart attacks in the days immediately following the time change.
Increased risk of heart attack and stroke: Research has shown a small but statistically significant increase in the number of heart attacks and strokes in the days following the time change, particularly in people with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.
Negative impact on mental health: Some studies have found a link between DST and an increase in depression and suicide rates, particularly in the weeks following the time change.
Disruption to the circadian rhythm: Our bodies have a natural rhythm, or circadian rhythm, that regulates many physiological processes, including sleep, metabolism, and hormone production. Disrupting this rhythm by changing the clock can lead to a host of health problems, including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
It’s important to note that not everyone is affected by DST in the same way, and some people may not experience any negative health effects at all. However, if you are someone who is particularly sensitive to changes in your sleep schedule or have pre-existing health conditions, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate them, such as gradually adjusting your sleep schedule leading up to the time change on March 12, 2023.
Where do Most People Stand?
In the United States, a 2019 survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 7 in 10 Americans preferred to stop switching back and forth between daylight saving time and standard time.
Similarly, a 2021 survey conducted by the European Commission found that 84% of EU citizens would prefer to abolish the bi-annual time change.
It’s worth noting that opinions on DST can vary depending on factors such as location, age, and occupation. Some people may prefer DST because it provides longer daylight hours in the evenings, while others may prefer standard time because it allows for more daylight in the morning. Overall, however, the trend in recent polls seems to be in favor of abolishing DST.