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'Springing' forward means more daylight but also more health problems and less sleep

analog alarm clock on nightstand next to a bed with a pot of lavender.
Photo by Rayia Soderberg

A U.S. House committee heard testimony this week on the pros and cons of switching between standard and daylight saving time. Many people say they like having the extra hour of daylight, but sleep professionals say it's a bad idea.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is continuing the push to abolish daylight saving time. Research shows most people get an hour less sleep on daylight saving time. That has a host of health and safety implications.

The academy points to evidence such as:

  • An increase in car crashes and fatal motor vehicle crashes
  • Increase in missed medical appointments
  • A higher risk of stroke and hospital admissions
  • An increased risk of mood disturbances
  • Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, impairing sleep quality and leading to sleep loss

Ann Romaker, MD, is the director of UC Medical Center's Sleep Medicine Center. She says while you may look forward to an extra hour of daylight, it's not good for our health.
"We're already a sleep-deprived civilization and with less sleep there's more hypertension, there's more coronary disease, more motor vehicle accidents, etc.," she says.

She's says people should be extra careful when driving.

"We should probably slow down a little bit because we and other drivers on the road are somewhat sleep deprived so we're not going to stop as well," she says. "In addition to what we can do to mitigate sleep problems we also should slow down and watch out for each other and be a little more patient and try to mitigate road rage."

Romaker says getting up an hour early on Sunday so you're ready to go to bed at what would be your normal time, may help ease the transition.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.