Daylight saving time began about 8 months ago, we sprung forward an hour to begin daylight saving time. The time change is coming to an end once again as we move our clocks back an hour this weekend giving us more time for sleep.
Make sure to set back any clocks you have Saturday night as the change occurs 2 am Sunday morning.
Daylight saving time has been around for a while now, first being put into practice on a wide scale during WWI. The time change was put into place as a way to try and conserve fuel during that time. The United States adopted the plan formally in 1918 when DST was instituted and the time zones were established. Following WWI, most places removed the practice before President Franklin Roosevelt put it back in place during WWII between 1942-1945.
At the end of the war daylight savings time ended once again. However, states and cities were able to determine on their own whether or not they continue using DST. It wasn’t until 1966 that it was established as an official policy across the country when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act. The act moved clocks forward an hour beginning the first Sunday of April until the last Sunday of October.
The schedule would go on to be changed in 2005 by Congress which is our current DST plan. The schedule currently in place sets daylight saving time from the second Sunday of March through the first Sunday of November.
There are very few states and territories of the United States that do not used daylight saving time. Arizona and Hawaii do not observe DST, nor do Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Although we are technically gaining an hour of sleep, there have been studies that show the daylight saving time change can negatively affect someone’s health.
Timothy Morgenthaler, the Mayo Clinic co director of Center for Sleep Medicine, had the following to say about DST.
“Ever since the institution of Daylight Saving Time, there has been controversy regarding whether it accomplishes its goals or not, and if so — at what cost.”
According to Morgenthaler, losing or gaining an hour of sleep can affect our sleep patterns for around 5-7 days. Some of the more notable changes occur with those who regularly do not sleep enough. Sleep deprived individuals can struggle with their memory, social interactions, learning and overall cognitive performance.
“People have more changes in how sleepy they feel or how it affects the quality of their sleep when we ‘spring forward’ than when we ‘fall back,'” said Morgenthaler.
In a limited study conducted by someone at the University of Colorado in 2014, it was concluded that losing one hour of sleep in the spring increases heart attack risk by 25 percent. By going back one hour in the Fall, hear attack risk decreases 21 percent.
Another study that was presented during the American Academy of Neurology in 2016 suggested that moving forward or back an hour increases the risk of having a stroke. According to the research, this is due to the disruption of someone’s internal body clock, increasing the risk of ischemic stroke by 8 percent.
According to Morgenthaler, the studies are just two of several that focus on the negative health effects and don’t necessarily paint the entire picture.
“Of several published between 2010 and 2014, three studies showed that DST increases the risk of acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs), however, two others demonstrated that the timing (but not the incidence) of strokes and AMIs may be influenced by DST,” Morgenthaler said.
Briefly mentioned earlier, DST has an impact on one’s ability to learn. Researchers have also noted that DST can cause students to not do well on their college entrance exams. One study concluded that there is a 2% decrease in SAT scores when the test was administered after the time change.
Even if we are gaining an hour of sleep this coming Sunday and look at it in a positive manner, it looks and sounds like there are some possible negative effects.