Health Concerns Associated with Daylight Saving Time
It may not seem like a big deal, but setting the time forward (or back) an hour is enough to confuse our body’s internal clock, aka circadian rhythm. Why? Because the human body is biologically programmed to follow distinct light/dark cycles over an approximate 24-hour period. Light is a primary cue for hormones that tell us when to wake up, when to eat, and when to go to sleep. However, changes in our light exposure can cause circadian misalignment, which has been linked to a variety of potential health risks.
In fact, every year on the Monday after the springtime switch, hospitals report a 24% spike in heart-attack visits around the US. This is likely not a coincidence as doctors observe the opposite trend each fall: The day after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop 21% while people enjoy an extra hour of sleep.(3) Additionally, research has shown that the spring clock change is associated with an increase in road traffic accidents, workplace injuries, poor mood, and reduced efficiency.(4)(5)(6)
“That’s how fragile and susceptible your body is to even just one hour of lost sleep,” according to Dr. Matthew Walker, Sleep Scientist and author of Why We Sleep.