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Understanding the Health Impacts and Controversies Surrounding Daylight Saving Time

Although daylight saving time is very popular with many people, it may have negative health effects for humans, according to some scientists.

Daylight saving time is when clocks move an hour forward in the spring and return to standard time in the fall. This makes people lose an hour of sleep, causing scientists to question if this is healthy. Kenneth Wright, an expert on sleep and body clocks, says that daylight saving time is the wrong name for this procedure. He says that humans are only changing the way they live concerning the sun, making their bodies out of sync. The action of changing the clocks creates a problem with the human body’s circadian rhythm as it resets.

Wright and other scientists advocate for permanent standard time instead of switching twice a year. The U.S. Senate voted for daylight saving to become permanent in March 2022, but without a vote from the House, it has not become law. Something similar happened in Congress in the 1970s, however, it was not passed as people feared the shift could cause fear or depression among adolescents and others.

Daylight saving time can cause multiple health problems: loss of sleep and a risk of heart attacks. The change of time is also associated with a greater risk of people dying after a stroke in the hospital.

Studies have compared people who live on the early and late sunset side of a time zone. The early sunset study showed a greater risk for health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and breast cancer. Although these results suggested many consequences experienced by the people on the early sunset side, other studies have had contradicting results. For instance, some studies stated that permanent daylight saving would reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

Teens’ brains are also affected by daylight saving time as it can create problems for their growing bodies. For example, when going through puberty, the brain may wait an hour or two to release melatonin at night. When it does, it signals for the body to rest and go to sleep. When melatonin release is delayed due to daylight saving time, teens have a harder time going to bed at desired times as they are not tired. This can have implications for young students who need to wake up early for school and function for long periods in their studies.

Although many people think that daylight saving is a poor choice, it might not be depending on an individual’s perspective. Some have seen that switching time helps improve safety, while others have observed a decline in health due to this process. Nonetheless, daylight saving is a debated topic that still has room for discussion and requires more research.

[Source: Science News Explores]

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