Why was Daylight Savings Time (DST) started? Do we still need it, and what effects does it have on our bodies? Extending daylight hours was originally started to conserve power during World War I. The thought process was that a later sunset would lead to less lamp use in the evening; however, the savings have not been as expected. The savings has only been 0.5 % per day. Is the .5% a day worth the effect on our bodies? The majority opinion is an overwhelming NO! There have been multiple studies on what DST does to the body’s clock, mind, work habits, and overall health of those people in states which observe DST. Springtime is worse for the body with the loss of the hour vs fall, where you gain the hour you lost back. However, both cause similar health issues including:
- Quality of sleep, loss of REM, which means less quality of reparative sleep.
- Risk of increased mental health issues, especially to those already challenged.
- Less sleep = less productivity and more job loss.
- Decrease in efficiency overall.
- Workplace injuries increase the Monday after DST and decrease when we “fall back” in October.
- Sudden sleep pattern changes can cause heart attacks to increase by 25% for those with heart conditions, particularly on the Monday after Spring forward.
WOW! Who knew the loss of an hour could cause so much disruption? You may be wondering what can we do to offset the transition? Here are some potentially helpful tips.
- Start the week or at least a few days before DST by setting your alarm ½ hour to 1 hour earlier to help with the first Monday of DST so the time change doesn’t hit you so hard.
- You may be running late, but do not skip breakfast! Eating breakfast tells your mind it’s morning and the start of your day.
- Exercise and go for a walk in the sun, it can adjust your internal body clock.
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