Health

Major Sleep Experts Officially Called For The End Of Daylight Savings

Research shows the very controversial practice messes with your Zzz’s.

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The end of summer means a return to days that get shorter and shorter — until early November, when we’re plunged into darkness an hour earlier, rudely bringing us back to what’s deemed Standard Time.

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Each year, the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time (DST) come with not just the general unpleasantness of time itself shifting, but also with health risks: poor sleep, which has been shown to lead to car accidents, heart attacks, changing crime rates, and more.

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, comprising some of the country's foremost sleep experts, says enough is enough. The organization published a position paper online in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine calling for a “fixed, national, year-round standard time.”

“An abundance of accumulated evidence indicates that the acute transition from standard time to daylight saving time incurs significant public health and safety risks, including increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes.”

the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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The paper acknowledges that there’s not a ton of research about the chronic effects of DST, but says the shift is “less aligned with human circadian biology,” AKA your natural sleeping and waking rhythm.

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Messing with your circadian rhythm can have other health impacts, the paper adds, particularly on your heart. That brain fog you feel after getting just an hour less sleep in the spring? That’s another effect.

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Why do we have DST, anyway? It began as a way to save electricity by taking advantage of the extra sunlight from spring into fall, but it’s far from universal. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe DST, per CNN, nor do Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam.

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There have been bills in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas to keep those states on Standard Time year-round, while New England states have suggested region use Atlantic Standard Time — effectively observing DST all year.

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Until those proposals pass, we’ll have to continue to abide by the laws of time — losing an hour the second Sunday in March, and gaining it back the first Sunday in November.

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