WASHINGTON — Here’s another reminder: set your clocks forward before bed on March 11. On Sunday, daylight saving time begins, but you might not even need to read the clock to know something’s changed.
Is daylight saving time bad for your health?
- The Sleep Foundation
- This American Psychological Association study
- This study published in the journal Current Biology
Yes, daylight saving time does have negative health impacts.
WHAT WE FOUND
Our sources agree: People tend to get less sleep when we spring forward, but it’s less about the clock on your nightstand than the one in your body.
The Sleep Foundation explains: humans and other mammals are guided by circadian rhythms, which is like a mental and physical clock that resets each day, all in in sync with natural light to darkness cycles. That rhythm ensures good sleep.
Changing the amount of sunlight you’re exposed to interrupts your circadian rhythm — the hormones that release when it’s dark and time to go to bed, or the ones that give you energy when the light comes out in the morning — are all out of whack.
This study published in the journal "Current Biology" finds: though we eventually normalize when we turn clocks back in the fall, the human circadian rhythm doesn’t really ever adjust during daylight saving time. That’s because of the changing light conditions in the summertime.
And this American Psychological Association study finds: the Monday directly after springing forward, people who still need to wake up early get about 40 minutes less sleep than usual, and it can take weeks to your schedule to get better sleep.
Data shows significant consequences to a sleepier population – including more car crashes, heart attacks, strokes and reported mood disorder issues.
You may have heard of recent legislation attempting to put an end to changing clocks, but that effort is on pause: so as of right now, plan to turn it forward an hour at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, and then back an hour on November 5.
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