The Deadly Effects Of Changing Clocks

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This weekend marks the end of daylight saving time. Here’s what you need to know before you set your clock back to standard time tonight.

Everyday Health – Before heading to bed on October 31, many Americans will set their clocks back one hour to prepare for the end of daylight saving time (DST).

In the states that change clocks (Arizona and Hawaii are the only U.S. states that do not), the time always gets set back an hour on the first Sunday in November, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This year DST officially ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 1.

This practice of moving the clocks forward in the spring and then back to standard time in the fall (remember: fall back, spring forward) was originally conceived to optimize natural daylight hours, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The United States, however, adopted the practice during World War I for energy conservation.

If you find yourself rejoicing each year over the extra hour of sleep, we hear you. If you’ve spent the better part of 2020 managing multiple jobs and children at home, figuring out how to educate 7-year-olds on Zoom, or doing any of the other tough work that helps keep those in your community well, you deserve many extra hours of sleep.

“A study of 732,000 accidents over two decades has found that the annual switch to daylight saving time [in the spring] is associated with a 6% increase in fatal car crashes that week … Changes in accident patterns also occur after the ‘fall back’ time change, the study showed, with a decline in morning accidents and a spike in the evening, when darkness comes sooner.” – Science Daily, Jan 20, 2020

But some medical experts say the extra slumber may actually have some unintended consequences on our health. And since 2015, 29 U.S. states have introduced legislation to abolish DST altogether.

Here’s what you should know about the science behind why DST may not be so great for health and some tips for easing the transition since — for now, at least — DST is happening.

Changing the Clocks on the Walls Can Throw Off Our Body Clocks

Setting the clock back affects your body’s circadian rhythms — the physical, mental, and behavioral changes in your body that follow a 24-hour cycle, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) definition … Read more. 

Daylight saving time brings a surge in fatal car crashes

Jan 30, 2020

Science Daily – “Our results support the theory that abolishing time changes completely would improve public health,” said Celine Vetter, assistant professor of integrative physiology, University of Colorado Boulder. “But where do we head from here? Do we go to permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time?”

Generally speaking, research has shown, it’s better for sleep, the body clock, and overall health to have more morning light and less evening light, as is the case under standard time.

Under permanent daylight saving time, mornings would stay dark later in winter all over the country, with the western parts of each time zone seeing the sun the latest, Vetter noted.

“As a circadian biologist, my clear preference is toward standard time.” Read more. 

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