Is Daylight Saving Time Actually Bad For Your Health?

By Ryan Bisram
Ryan Bisram
Ryan Bisram
March 6, 2015 Updated: February 7, 2022

Amidst all the winter madness it’s hard to believe that daylight savings time is right around the corner. Most people rejoice as this time approaches as it officially signifies that spring is right around the corner and that we’ll be saying goodbye to old man winter quite soon (hopefully.) While it’s great to think about that additional hour of daylight it should also be noted that even a small change in your sleep patterns can have different effects on different people. How these changes affect you will typically depend on your own pre-existing sleep patterns and your overall lifestyle.

What Difference Does an Hour Make?

Simply put, daylight savings time affects your circadian rhythm which can in turn hinder your sleep patterns. On March 8th when the clocks move forward, we will all be figuratively “losing” an hour. Much like anything else our bodies become quickly acclimated to routine, and something as minimal as the increase or decrease of an hours sleep can incite feelings of moodiness, grogginess, and even affect your eating habits. These feelings are less likely to be felt by individuals who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep which is typically seven to eight hours for adults. However for the many people in the world who are sleep deprived, the effects of daylight savings time can be a bit more harrowing. The reasoning behind this is simple, in that going from six hours of sleep to five hours of sleep is much more dramatic than going from eight hours to seven hours. So, how can we make sure that we don’t get too harshly affected? The key much like anything else is planning in order to prevent.

Setting or maintaining your sleep routine is key to ensuring that you wake up feeling like it’s any other day. For example, setting your clock to ensure that you’re still receiving the same amount of sleep as normal will ensure that all you lose is the figurative hour by the clocks moving forward. Sleep wise, you’re still receiving the same amount of rest. Another excellent way to combat the fatigue you may feel the following day is to get as much sunlight as possible. According to Dr. Robert Onexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, sunlight can help us retrain our circadian rhythm and allow us to adjust comfortably back into a better sleep pattern. This can ward off the grogginess that can be associated with daylight savings time much faster.

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