Permanent Daylight Saving Time Would Be Awful for Our Circadian Rhythm

Permanent Daylight Saving Time Would Be Awful for Our Circadian Rhythm

“Spring forward, fall back” could be no more, as Daylight Saving Time in the US could be made permanent. The issue resurfaced, as Americans say they are tired of moving the clocks twice a year and that we should just pick one. But did the government pick the wrong one?

The US has a long and complicated history with Daylight Saving Time — or what might be known better as “spring forward” time. 

First enacted in 1918 during WWI as “wartime,”  the measure was supposed to provide more daylight during working hours. Meanwhile, according to Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time,” the US Chamber of Commerce also liked it, as workers with more daylight after work were likely to stop, shop, and spend money on their way home.

It was repealed only to be brought back again during WWII, so there would be more daylight during working hours.

After World War II, there was a chaotic period where states picked whichever time standard they wanted, until 1966 when the “Uniform Time Act” made six months of Standard Time and six months of Daylight Saving Time.

This brings us to today, where people have different opinions on Daylight Saving Time, but most Americans want the clock change gone. A 2019 AP poll showed that 71 percent of Americans would like to quit changing the clocks twice per year versus 28 percent who want to keep it the way it is.

Now, the US Senate just passed a measure that would again make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Some people like sunlight later in the evening, especially during the summer.

But many, including medical professionals and safety experts, argue that “springing forward” can be hazardous to your health.

Beth Ann Malow, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University writes, in ScienceAlert, “[m]oving the clocks forward is not just an inconvenience. It is a shock to the human body and nature.”

She and her co-authors reviewed data that linked Daylight Saving Time to increased strokes, heart attacks, and sleep deprivation in teenagers. She explains that falling back to Standard Time is, “relatively benign.” But by artificially moving time forward it messes with our internal circadian rhythm — our internal, natural clock. Sunlight also wakes us up and improves alertness in the morning.

“Exposure to light later into the evening delays the brain's release of melatonin, the hormone that promotes drowsiness. This can interfere with sleep and cause us to sleep less overall, and the effect can last even after most people adjust to losing an hour of sleep at the start of daylight saving time,” Malow said.

If this isn’t enough evidence against Daylight Saving Time, then we should be reminded that the US tried this in the 1970s and it failed.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed into law permanent daylight savings time. At first, it was widely popular,  but that dropped precipitously after Americans had to deal with month after month of pitch-black mornings. It was reversed just 16 months later.

Now after everything we have learned and know after 100 years of this experiment. Will we go with natural Circadian Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time?

The Senate approved the “Sunshine Protection Act” unanimously. The measure will move to the house of representatives where it’s future is uncertain.

New Research Examines the Causes & Consequences of Poor Sleep

New Research Examines the Causes & Consequences of Poor Sleep

An influx of new research has been shedding light on the importance of sleep and showing the great promise of natural approaches to treating dysfunction.

According to recent statistics, at least one-third of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. And over the last few years, sleep problems have been reported in 40% of Americans. Alarmed by these numbers, researchers have doubled their efforts at studying the causes, effects, and possible treatments.

Dr. Donese Worden is a naturopathic doctor who has worked with multiple patients with sleep issues and has lectured extensively on the topic.

“The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. It detoxes our body, not only the brain in its detoxification process but the entire body. It allows us to regenerate our body — that’s called ATP,” Dr. Worden said. 

“The cells also need to rest at a certain point to re-energize themselves to do all of the processes they do. It allows us to tell our bodies we need to burn more fat. It allows our body to say it is time to regulate blood sugar (and) help the cardiovascular system repair. If we’re not sleeping well, we’re more at risk for atherosclerosis and other metabolic diseases.”

One significant area of recent research has been around the causes of sleep problems. Multiple factors have been implicated, including stress responses, nutritional deficits and excesses, and nighttime routines.

“Your nighttime routine is called sleep hygiene. Is the room dark? Blackout curtains are important here. Is the room cold enough? That affects your sleep. So looking at the basics of cold room, dark room, and blue light. Is the computer on? Are you looking at your cell phone? Blue light has been linked with a very recent study, into affecting our quality of sleep and ability to go to sleep,” Dr. Worden said.

Studies suggest that blue light decreases the production of melatonin, which is necessary for the induction of sleep. Another focus of recent study is the connection between nutrition, inflammation, and sleep.

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