Thankfully for many people in the United States, the period of daylight saving time is ending gradually. Residents of states that follow this practice will set the clocks back on Sunday.
They’ll gain the hour of rest they lost in the spring. For most of the country, the daylight saving time begins on March’s second Sunday at 2 am and ends on November’s first Sunday at the same time.
Experts Say That Daylight Saving Time Is Not Helpful
The agency in charge of day-saving time, the Department of Transportation, said that this practice reduces crime, saves energy, and prevents traffic accidents. Sleep experts believe that the consequences on the health of losing sleep from this practice surpass its value.
The Public Safety Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s consultant, Erin Flynn-Evans believes that there is no need of continuing this back and forth. The adverse consequences on health and its adverse impact on multi-vehicular crashes are not worth it.
Health experts say that like exercise and diet, sleep is equally important for a healthy lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic’s center for sleep medicine’s consultant and psychiatric associate professor, Dr. Bhanu Kolla said that sleep is one of the pillars of good health.
It is proven that sleep improves cognitive functions like problem-solving, learning, creativity, and decision making. Insufficient sleep causes poor focus, inability to monitor, and inattention, said Boston Children’s Hospital’s pediatric sleep program’s co-director and Harvard Medical School’s professor, Judith Owens.
She said that people who do not get enough sleep are more prone to go through risks because they do not perceive many consequences. For instance, a sleep-deprived child of elementary school is likely to dart out on a road because he is less vigilant and more impulsive.
Getting adequate sleep is also important for emotional regulation. Sleep deficiency has been associated with bipolar disorder, suicide, substance use, and increased depression risk.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s clinical psychiatry assistant professor at the division of pulmonary medicine and sleep center, Melisa Moore said that sleep has a big influence on your health and happiness as it influences your hormones.
Sleep is also important for the healing of the body, to repairing blood vessels and the heart. Inadequate sleep has been linked to kidney disease risk, heart disease risk, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, say experts.
Kolla said that when we get enough sleep, our body’s internal clock works properly and we know when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep. Every person’s internal clock follows a schedule of 24.2 hours naturally with 6 to 8 hours of sleep at night.
Every cell in our body carries its own clock that follows the brain’s master clock. Researchers have found that people who wake up or sleep outside of this cycle suffer adverse health conditions caused by inadequate sleep.
A study was published in 2020 in the journal Current Biology. It determined that fatal traffic accidents risk increased up to 6% in the country during the shift to daylight saving time. Studies found that this risk is highest in the West Coast mornings.
Drivers are not alert much without morning light. During the time of daylight saving, they might experience adverse cognitive impacts of inadequate sleep like inability to focus, inattention, and increased tendency to take risks. Most people think about benefits in the evening without thinking about disadvantages in the morning.
Years of scientific research also suggest that sleep loss has an adverse impact on health and it has been linked to daylight saving time. A study published in Sleep Medicine in 2015 carried out by Finland’s researchers found that the risk of stroke was higher by 8% during the shift to daylight saving time.