Permanent daylight saving time will hurt our health, experts say

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America, Europe, most of Canada, and many other countries have a fall tradition of turning the clocks back an hour on a kind of groundhog day declining faith. We plan to move forward (again) next spring when the government restores daylight saving time.

But do we put our faith in unhealthy and outdated ideas?

If it becomes law, daylight saving time will become permanent, according to the U.S. Senate, which passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 in March.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who first introduced the bill to the Senate, said in a statement, “Calls to end the outdated watch-swapping practice are gaining momentum nationwide. In 2018, the Florida legislature passed daylight saving time as permanent in Florida, but it can’t be enforced until it becomes federal law.

The bill still has to go through the US The House of Representatives, where laws are signed by the President. In that case, we set our clocks forward and leave it at that, permanently one hour ahead of the Sun.

But many sleep experts say the act of advancing the clock in spring is ruining our health. , adding fuel to the debate about whether introducing daylight saving time in some way is a good idea.

Dr. Elizabeth Krellman, professor of neurology in the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said:

“Your body clock is sitting in the[natural]light, not the clock on the wall,” says Klerman. “And there is no evidence that your body has completely transitioned into a new age.”

Phyllis Zee, Ph.D., director of the Circadian and Sleep Medicine Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Evanston, said: Illinois is also against daylight saving time.

“From March to November, your body sees less light in the morning and more light in the evening, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

The standard time we enter when we turn the clocks back in the fall is much closer to the Sun’s day-night cycle, Gee said. This cycle has set our circadian rhythms, or body clocks, for centuries.

Its internal timers control not only when you sleep, but also when you eat, exercise, and work, as well as your “blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol rhythm.”

A call for a complete ban on daylight saving time has come from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. ”

The proposal has been endorsed by more than 20 medical, scientific and civil society groups, including the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the National Parent Teachers Association, the National Safety Council, the Society for Biorhythm Research, and the World Sleep Society. .

When your internal clock deviates from the sun’s day/night cycle by even an hour, you’ll experience what sleep experts call “social jet lag.” Studies show that social jet lag increases the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, exacerbates mood disorders such as depression, and affects the digestive and endocrine systems. It reduces sleep time. It may even reduce life expectancy.

A 2003 study found that skipping one hour of sleep for two weeks had the same effect on thinking and motor performance as two nights without sleep. Another study found that cutting sleep from the recommended 7-8 hours for adults to 90 minutes changed the DNA of immune cells and promoted inflammation, a leading cause of chronic disease.

Making the time change permanent makes the chronic effects of sleep deprivation more severe. “Not only do we have to go to work an hour earlier for five additional months each year, but our internal clocks are typically slower in the winter than in the summer,” the Society for Biological Rhythms Research said in a statement.

“Thus, the combination of DST and winter will exacerbate the differences between our biological and social clocks, further affecting our health.

There’s a reason the US Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act. Proponents say that extra sunlight in the evening reduces car accidents and crime, and increases commercial and recreational opportunities, as people prefer to shop and exercise during the day.

But studies show that both heart attacks and fatal car crashes increase as the clock advances into spring. , with dire consequences.

When President Richard Nixon signed into law permanent daylight saving time in January 1974, it was a popular move. But after eight school children were hit by a car in the dark, the governor of Florida called for the law to be repealed by the end of the month. Schools across the country delayed school start times until the sun came up.

By the summer, public support had plummeted, and in early October, Congress voted to return to standard time.

A similar backlash occurred when the United States first implemented daylight saving time in 1918. This was his way of reducing the demand for electricity usage by adding sunlight at the end of the day in response to World War I. Savings from practice.) Time switches were so unpopular that the law was repealed the following year.

“The United States has attempted permanent daylight saving time twice before, but ended early. The United Kingdom has tried once before, and ended early. but it ended early,” Krellman said. “I think we should learn from history.”

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