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Daylight Savings Time: Good or Bad?

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This coming weekend we have the daylight savings time change happening in the US. In this case we “spring forward,” meaning that the clock is moved ahead by one hour, effectively cutting one hour of sleep from our schedules. (Of course, some people can sleep in an extra hour, but then that cuts an hour out of your day.)

Personally, I’m not a fan of daylight savings time. I don’t like the hassle of having to change all of the clocks in the house and cars, but beyond that, I don’t like having to make the adjustments to sleep patterns, etc. Of course, as the weather gets nice, it is helpful to have the extra sunlight at the end of the day if you’re working or playing outside, but if it were up to me I would still vote to not have this system.

Granted that there are some benefits to daylight savings time, it turns out that there are negative financial and health consequences to having this system. Dr. Joseph Mercola just published an article on his website entitled “Daylight Savings Time May Cost You Extra—Both in Terms of Money and Health”–you can access the article here. Daylight Savings Time (DST) is not universal throughout the world. For example, the state of Arizona does not observe it, nor do many parts of Australia. It seems that more and more countries are moving away from DST. When I was living in Indiana there was a point at which DST was not observed, but the strange situation there was that part of the year you were in sync with neighboring states, and part of the year you weren’t.

One theory about the negative health effects of DST has to do with the Monday syndrome. The rate of heart attacks is higher on Mondays than other days of the week, likely having something to do with the multiple changes that happen when making a transition from weekend to work day. Throw in the fact that an hour of sleep is given up, and you can see that statistically the rate of heart attacks could be even worse. According to some research, our circadian body clock never makes the adjustment to DST. If you feel somehow “off” after the change, it’s probably because your body just hasn’t adjusted.

There are steps you can take to help your body make the change with fewer issues. Be sure to get high quality sleep and eat nutritious food. By getting up earlier on the Saturday and Sunday of DST, Monday morning won’t come as quite as much of a shock.

If you’re having trouble sleeping well, melatonin can be a very useful supplement, and it doesn’t even have the negative side effects of some of the sleep medications that are out there.

It’s also possible to track your sleep with a fitness tracker such as the Jarv SMART BT–this device can give you feedback on whether you are getting sufficient amounts and quality of sleep.

How about you? Do you like Daylight Savings Time? Why or why not?

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