Why summertime could be bad for our health

Despite rumors that daylight savings are a thing of the past, clocks go forward an hour on Sunday and you might feel like you’ve lost some sleep – because you will. But take comfort in the fact that it might be the last time.

You’re not alone if it’s taking you a while to adjust to a new schedule, or you’re just feeling uncomfortable for a while after the clock change. The switch between times puts a strain on our body as it struggles to adjust to a new schedule and maintain proper wake and sleep hormones.

Time is linked to our body in what is known as our “circadian rhythm”, also known as our “body clock”.

It’s not the time shift itself that affects the circadian rhythm, but rather the light during the day that helps our body know when to settle down and sleep or wake up. Our bodies don’t care if the clock reads 5 p.m. or 5 a.m. as long as there is the appropriate amount of light.

Anna, from the popular animated film Frozen, may have got it right when she said, “Heaven’s up, so I’m awake.”

So it makes sense that when daylight saving time has us waking up in the dark, it disrupts our natural sleep cycle. But “when we get more light in the morning and darkness in the evening, our bodies and nature are more attuned, making it easier to wake up to our daily activities and easier to fall asleep at night,” according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

This is the natural rhythm of nature, and just when we get bogged down in it, we lose or gain an hour and start the whole process over.

With every time the clock changes, our natural sleep cycles get thrown into disarray. It’s like an endless battle that our bodies are forced to fight and re-adapts every six months.

A permanent schedule would be ideal for our bodies, but then the question becomes, should standard time or daylight saving time be the permanent standard in the United States?

How does light affect us?

In early timekeeping, a sundial was used to determine the time of day based on the position of the sun in the sky and the amount of light it gave off – there was more sunlight in the middle of the day compared to less light at the beginning and end of the day.

Time was first defined by how much sunlight naturally lit the world. So wouldn’t it make sense that our body – as a natural phenomenon – is also connected to it?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine called the “daily cycle of natural light and darkness” the “most powerful timer to synchronize our body’s internal clock.”

It follows that when the light outside and the clock don’t match, our body gets confused.

“We process light neurologically as a tool for our circadian cycles,” said Jenney Howe, child and adolescent psychologist and owner of Jenney Howe Consulting, in an interview with the Deseret News. “When we lose access to it, our natural rhythms of motivation and reward and reinforcement and sleep become compromised.”

Having a schedule is something our bodies like because it can anticipate our activities throughout the day and release hormones on a schedule that helps us feel more alert and productive during work hours. At night, they can release hormones that make us sleepy and get us ready to relax at night when the sun goes down.

This is one of the reasons why conditions like seasonal depression are more pronounced during the seasons with the least amount of light.

With the invention of technologies like televisions, computers, smartphones, and even lightbulbs, the bright light emitted by these can actually mess up our circadian rhythm as our bodies recognize the difference between the light emitted by a device and the light emitted by it can’t see The sun.

Because of this, Apple’s “Night Shift” mode and other similar features dim the screen light and switch it to a more sepia color, reducing the amount of light from the screen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting some natural light during the day and reducing your intake of artificial light at night to help sync your circadian rhythm, help you get better sleep, and improve your health.

Why is sleep important?

we need sleep The CDC even calls it “vital to good health” because it’s vital for our bodies to repair itself. Without it, we’re more vulnerable to physical ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, and asthma, not to mention mental illnesses like depression.

Sleep can make a big difference and has sparked a debate about whether permanent daylight savings time is the best idea or if winter time is more beneficial.

President of the American Academy of Sleep, Jennifer Martin, argues that daylight saving time switching interferes with healthy sleep by upsetting the body’s natural circadian rhythms.

“Daylight saving time disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms and impacts sleep,” Martin said in a published article by the organization.

Martin argues that the permanent daylight saving time change should be standard time because it corresponds to the body’s natural internal clock, in addition to more safety precautions for children going to school in the morning.

“Standard time provides a better opportunity to get the right amount of quality, restful sleep on a regular basis, which improves our cognition, mood, cardiovascular health and overall well-being,” Martin said.

“Standard time provides a better opportunity to get the right amount of quality, restful sleep on a regular basis, which improves our cognition, mood, cardiovascular health and overall well-being,” Martin said.

When sleep is negatively impacted, it can lead not only to physical ailments but also to psychological problems, as shown in a cause-of-death study.

The day after daylight saving time, the suicide rate increased by 6%, according to Eric Osborne-Christenson, assistant professor of economics and associate chair of the economics department at Pace University, in the journal Health Economics.

While it’s still up for debate which time is used, research suggests a change needs to be made.

Does daylight saving time end in 2023?

The Sun Protection Act is set to be made permanent at the federal level but is still stalled in the House of Representatives, the Deseret News previously reported.

More than half of the states — including Utah — have pushed for permanent change, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But for now, the time change will remain intact for another year and our clocks will “jump ahead” on Sunday.

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