Should we end daylight saving time? Doctors think it’s bad for our health

Should we end daylight saving time? Doctors think it’s bad for our health

Doctors have called for the elimination of daylight saving time citing potential harm that may result from the practice.

Daylight saving time is a practice of setting the clock forward by an hour beginning on the second Sunday in March in order to use light from the sun for longer.

Once winter arrives, clocks are then set backwards an hour, ending the practice around the first Sunday of November, so people can get an extra hour of sleep.

Doctors from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) called for an end to the practice, citing potential harms that can result due to changes to and from daylight saving time.

Instead, they are in favour of setting standard time, which is the time when the clocks are set back in the fall, permanently.

Doctors say such a permanent standard time aligns best with the human body’s natural inner clock.

“By causing the human body clock to be misaligned with the natural environment, daylight saving time increases risks to our physical health, mental well-being, and public safety. Permanent standard time is the optimal choice for health and safety,” Adeel Rishi, chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee, said in a statement.

AASM had previously shown in a study in 2020 that Daylight Saving Time (DST) is linked to “increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, cardiovascular events, and mood disturbances” as people annually “spring forward” to adopt the practice.

Previous research has also found that pushing the clock back an hour can impact mental health.

An analysis of data from more than 185,000 Danish people found an over 10 per cent rise in depressive episodes during the shift from summer time to standard time.

The position to end DST is also supported by previous statements adopted by organisations such as National Sleep Foundation and the American Medical Association.

“Permanent standard time helps synchronize the body clock with the rising and setting of the sun. This natural synchrony is optimal for healthy sleep, and sleep is essential for health, mood, performance, and safety,” James A Rowley, president of the AASM, said.

However, the US Senate has passed The Sunshine Protection Act in March 2022, which would make US daylight saving time permanent.

But this bill still requires approval by the House and president Joe Biden to be coded into law.