When our clocks were turned back an hour on Sunday, health experts say that it might be better for all of us if time changes were permanently ended.
Because it’s more than just an inconvenience. They say it could be bad for our health.
Over the course of time, daylight savings time (DST) takes away bright morning sunlight that is critical to our biological clocks.
Quite possibly, that puts more people at risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other ailments caused by a lack of sleep, according to Dr. Beth Ann Malow, director of Sleep Disorders Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
When the time changes, adults lose an average of 15-20 minutes of sleep. Along with other potential health problems, experts say DST changes can boost the risk of serious or fatal accidents.
“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,” Malow said in a Vanderbilt news release.
“It’s not one hour twice a year. It’s a misalignment of our biologic clocks for eight months of the year,” she said. “When we talk about DST and the relationship to light we are talking about profound impacts on the biological clock, which is a structure rooted in the brain. It impacts brain functions such as energy levels and alertness.”
Malow and her colleagues argue for a halt in setting clocks forward or backward.
Though the federal government doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to end time changes, several states have passed DST exemption laws since 2015.