Daylight Savings Time Is Killing Some and Making Most of Us Less Healthy

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Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

For a long time now, I’ve been a staunch opponent of daylight savings time. It’s awful and I hate it. My opposition probably started in high school. It was the first time I had to be up early. In next to no time, I realized it sucks trying to get up when it’s still dark. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to hate the extra hour in the evening, too. Mostly because it makes it harder to sleep. And I definitely hate the time changes. It takes me at least a week to adjust every time. Pets no longer know when they’ll be fed. With babies and toddlers, it’s even more of a nightmare.

These are all opinions based on personal experience and intuition. That’s not at all scientific. Lucky for me, the real science backs me up.

Let’s start with the time changes themselves. There are news stories every year about the rise in car accidents and heart attacks just after the time change. And jumping ahead is worse than falling back. Then there’s the lost productivity at work. It should be obvious to everyone that we’re better off picking one time and sticking with it.

So, why should that be standard time rather than daylight savings time? It all comes down to circadian rhythms. Standard time just fits our nature better. We evolved with the sun and the moon’s cycles. We are linked to them in many ways. When it gets light in the morning, that signals us to wake up. When it gets dark at night, that signals us to go to sleep. By pushing the daylight an hour ahead, we force ourselves to get up with alarms. It’s a jarring way to wake up and no one feels as rested as they could. Disruptions in sleep cause all kinds of other problems from accidents to heart attacks. There’s even some evidence that shows some cancers may be caused by sleep deprivation.

There have been some proposed bills that would do away with time changes. It’s mixed whether we would end up with DST or standard time. We should do everything we can to support the standard time bills. We can write letters and make phone calls, bring it up at town hall meetings. Anything to get the momentum going. If they pass, we can all start leading happier and healthier lives.

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