Some Neurologists Want To End Daylight Saving Time, Calling It Unhealthy

Daylight saving time (DST) officially ended in the United States at 2 a.m. on November 3, but three neurologists at Vanderbilt University say that the practice should be totally done away with permanently.

Drs. Beth A. Malow, Olivia J. Veatch and Kanika Bagai collaborated on a piece published in JAMA Neurology on Monday that brought evidence of the detrimental effects of DST on the brain, citing specifically the negative impact it may have on circadian rhythms, the internal clock that regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle.

They wrote that the transition to and from daylight saving time has been associated with several health complications, including an increased risk of stroke.

"The rate of ischemic stroke was significantly higher during the first 2 days after DST transition, with women, older age, and malignancy showing increased susceptibility," the piece read.

Studies have also indicated that the transition negatively affects sleep patterns, especially among adolescents, causing them "an average of 15 to 20 fewer minutes of sleep." The authors pointed to data indicating that teenagers averaged about 7 hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night after the transition. This, they said, was not in-line with efforts to help them get enough sleep.

"While it is important to recognize that this study only involved 40 students and was limited to the week following the DST transition," the authors wrote, "an American Academy of Sleep Medicine consensus statement has recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep for adolescents on a regular basis."

All in all, the benefits don't outweigh the risks.

"Based on these data, we advocate for the elimination of transitions to DST," the authors wrote.

Daylight saving time has certainly not always existed, nor does it lack opponents.

Scholars of American history (and fans of the 2004 Nicholas Cage thriller, National Treasure) may recall that it was inventor and founding father Benjamin Franklin who first introduced the idea of daylight saving time in the 1780s. However, as CNN reported, the practice did not begin to be implemented widely in the United States until 1966, following the passage of the Uniform Time Act. Our current system, in which which DST runs from March to November, has only been in place since 2007.

Further, the neurologists' professional opinion may be good news for Americans, most of whom, according to a recent poll, oppose the yearly hour-switching that daylight saving time necessitates.

According to the poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and reported by the Associated Press, 71 percent of Americans would prefer to toss the tradition. However, respondents could not come to a consensus as to whether the country's clocks ought to stay locked on standard time or on daylight saving time all year. According to the Associated Press, 40 percent said they would prefer to keep standard time for the duration of the year, while 31 percent expressed support for always operating on daylight saving time and never switching back to standard.

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The moon sets behind the Colgate Clock at sunrise on March 24, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The United States re-entered standard time on November 3, a transition some health professionals believe causes adverse health effects. Gary Hershorn/Getty
Some Neurologists Want To End Daylight Saving Time, Calling It Unhealthy | News