On Sunday, daylight saving time shifted to standard time, meaning clocks turned back one hour, giving people an extra hour to sleep.
Sleep specialists believe the change can cause healthy sleep habits and good health, while daylight saving time can cause harmful effects such as strokes, heart disease and a lack of focus.
According to a 2014 report from Open Heart, it was reported that turning back the clock caused a 24% increase in heart attacks. And during a 2016 conference, the American Academy of Neurology presented a study that showed the daylight saving time change was linked to ischemic stroke.
“In the spring, you are essentially losing an hour of sleep when that clock moves forward in the middle of the night,” Dr. James Wyatt, a clinical sleep disorder specialist at Rush University Medical Center, said. “But another thing that happens is that you are waking up at an earlier time relative to your body’s circadian system. You are trying to be awake with sleep deprivation at an earlier clock time. And then the circadian system thinks it’s daytime. Fundamentally, [daylight saving time] is putting more strain on your body causing heart attacks and strokes.”
Some advocates and sleep researchers have demanded for the removal of the system by replacing it with a standard time cycle that aligns with one’s internal clock, mood and physical and mental health.
Dr. Sabra Abbott, a sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine, is a supporter of the standard time system.
“It is much healthier to get more of that light in the morning than in the evening,” she said. “There are a lot of studies that show that if you live in the Western side of the time zone, where you are getting less of that morning light, there are higher rates of cancer, depression rates go up if you don’t have that morning light. So, as a community, the sleep field feels like standard time year-round is the best approach.”