The Grapevine

Doctors Want To Put An End To Daylight Saving Time

For many decades now, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been followed as a way to make better use of sunlight, where people usually move their clocks one hour from the morning to the evening. In the United States, it effectively starts on the second day of March, with people advancing their clocks by an hour.

DST then lasts for exactly eight months, starting from March until the first Sunday of November, where the clocks are then moved back to standard time.

While it’s been followed for many years, however, doctors have recently called to put an end to it once and for all because it can have negative effects on the human body.

"It's not 1 hour twice a year. It's a misalignment of our biologic clocks for 8 months of the year," Beth A. Malow, a professor of neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said, explaining that the practice can affect a number of important brain functions, which includes our energy levels and alertness.

"When we talk about DST [transitions] and the relationship to light, We are talking about profound impacts on the biological clock, which is a structure rooted in the brain," Malow added.

Recently, she and her colleagues published a JAMA Neurology paper that reviewed how DST transitions impact processes in our bodies that may be negative. These processes involve that of our sleep patterns, heart, brain, as well as our genes that affect our sleep-wake cycle. According to the authors, these negative effects come not from adopting DST itself, but rather from the twice-a-year transitions that disrupt our body clocks and cycles.

"The effects of permanent DST have received less attention and are beyond the scope of this review," the researchers noted.

Malow and her colleagues’ study on DST isn’t the first either since previous studies have also explored evidence of how DST transitions impact us. In these other studies, it’s stated that loss of sleep is normal, and actually builds up throughout the years.

With that in mind, however, the move to whether completely take away DST or adopt it permanently is still being debated.

Jump for daylight savings The sun scientifically impacts the average amount of children's exercise. benefit of hindsight/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0