Daylight Saving Time’s purpose is to create more light into summer’s later evening hours. You have probably heard it referred to as Daylight Savings Time in speech. In some countries, DST is actually called summer time. We know moving our clocks back and forth one hour sacrifices normal sunrise times. It’s seen negatively for evening entertainment and for other activities tied to the sun (such as farming) or to darkness (such as fireworks shows). However, it benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours. But is it good for our health?
The research is quite clear on the health effects of daylight saving time. This meddling with time sees spikes in heart attacks and suicides after clocks move forward. That seems extreme over losing an hour of sleep—if that was all we were talking about.
Daylight Saving Time: Toying With Your Body’s Clock
It actually takes time for your body to return to normal after subtracting an hour’s sleep, then repeating the process night after night. Adverse health effects are linked to what’s called a “ripple-effect”, stretching the mental and physical jolt that moving the clocks forward causes. For days and even weeks afterward—significant indications arise that show just how significant, consistent sleep is for mental and physical functioning.
There is an interesting “Monday cardiac phenomenon” that’s been known for some time. More cardiac events occur on Mondays than any other day of the week. The reason isolated? Changes in our sleeping patterns, transitioning from work week to weekend and back, are to blame.
Add daylight savings to the mix, and this risk to our well-being becomes even more pronounced. Heart attacks increase by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following DST time changes. Martin Young, Ph.D., an expert on the subject, says:
“Individuals who are sleep-deprived weigh more and are at an increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Sleep deprivation also can alter other body processes, including inflammatory response, which can contribute to a heart attack.”
Some states and countries have opted out or banned DST. For example, moving clocks forward was abolished in 2005 by the country of Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia and Europe, citing health complications as the reason. In 2011, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev also cancelled DST due to the “stress and illness”, he said, it causes on human biological clocks.
Even for those who don’t see serious health complications, most spend several days or even weeks feeling off-kilter!