As the clock shift approaches daylight saving time, many sleep scientists and circadian biologists want to remove the time because of the change’s potential effects on human health.
In the Scandinavian peninsula, a study shows that the chances of people seeking help with depression increase in the months when the days end and the evenings are darker. There are other studies that find links between the start of daylight saving time and more traffic accidents, heart attacks in vulnerable people and other health problems that increase with time changes.
This is what scientists say about the ritual that 2 billion people practice twice a year in various countries around the world;
Effects of time on sleep changes
Seasonal changes affect sleep patterns, a problem even more so at this time of year when many people struggle, said Dr. Phyllis Zee, a researcher at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago.
Approximately one in three Americans sleeps less than the recommended seven hours a night, and more than half of young adults fall short of the recommended 8+ hours of sleep for this group. One study found that a week after Daylight Saving Time passed, adolescents on average slept about two and a half hours less than the week before. There are many who cannot change in the next six months.
Studies suggest that chronic sleep deprivation can increase levels of stress hormones, heart and blood pressure, and chemicals that cause inflammation.
The book and the problems of the heart
It has been shown that the blood tends to clot faster in the morning, and the conclusion is that it is more common for a person to have a heart attack at this part of the day. Other studies indicate that this trend is even sharper on Fridays after daylight saving time, when people get up an hour earlier than normal.
This increased risk associated with the seasonal change primarily affects vulnerable people who already have pre-existing heart problems, said Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Some studies suggest that this risk will decrease again when daylight savings time ends and one-hour clocks return.
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTAL SUMMER
Many studies have found a connection between the time-saving approach and a slight rise in vehicle accidents, where factors such as inattention due to sleep deprivation played a role.
Seasonal change is coming to most of the United States, which affects our bodies in different ways. To see more from Telemundo, visit https://www.nbc.com/networks/telemundo
A study done in Germany in 2022 found a spike in deaths from road accidents in the week after the start of daylight saving time, which did not occur when the clock was turned back. Studies of accidents after the return to the time scale have given mixed results.
The internal clock of the human body
Circadian biologists believe that the negative effects associated with the time change are due to a lack of coordination between the solar clock, our social clock, work and school hours – and the human body’s internal clock.
At the molecular level, the biological clock goes along with exposure to sunlight and darkness. It regulates body functions such as metabolism, blood pressure, and hormones that promote sleep and alertness.
Changes in the body clock have been linked to chronic pain and diabetes, heart problems and other conditions. Circadian biologists say that these problems occur as time progresses with the onset of summer.
A lapse of an hour is enough to cause negative effects that can last for months, according to Till Roenneberg, a circadian rhythm specialist at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.
Pressure changes until the end
In the United States, Daylight Saving Time occurs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
The measure was established about 100 years ago to save energy, although recent research shows that the savings are small or negligible.
Federal law allows states to decide if they want to keep the standard time year round, as Hawaii and much of Arizona do. A change to force these States to join the rest – or to allow all of them to remain for a limited time – must be approved by the Federal Assembly.
Roenneberg and Zee are co-authors of a paper calling for a return to periodicity, which he wrote for the Biological Rhythms Research Society.
“If we want to improve human health, we must not fight against our body clock and therefore abandon daylight saving time,” the group said in a statement.
The Associated Press receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science.