Twice-a-year Daylight Saving Time shifts may not be good for your health
AUSTIN, Texas - If you're feeling a little tired tonight, you're not alone.
We did, after all, lose an hour of sleep as Daylight Saving Time kicked off early Sunday morning, but did you know changing our clocks can actually take a toll on our health?
We've been doing it for decades, springing forward in March and then falling back in November. Dr. Ryan McCorkle, emergency physician at St. David's Medical Center, says that constant gaining and losing an hour isn't exactly the best thing for our health.
"It seems unnecessary to put everyone through that twice a year," said Dr. McCorkle. "Your blood pressure, diabetes, your mental health, all those things are affected. Whenever we change our sleep patterns, get out of our circadian rhythms. So daylight savings has a lot to do with that."
Research shows deadly crashes in Texas tend to increase immediately following a time change likely because of drowsy drivers. Also, an AARP study found a 24% spike in heart attacks on the Monday after Daylight Saving Time starts along with an 8% increase in strokes.
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Dr. McCorkle says people with certain pre-existing conditions should be especially careful.
"The four that I would mention, you know, most commonly would be hypertension, diabetes, anxiety and depression," Dr. McCorkle said. "Monitor your blood pressure, monitor your blood sugar, stay hydrated, try to avoid sleep disruption as much as you possibly can."
In light of all this, state and federal lawmakers have been pushing to get rid of time changes. State Rep. Vicki Goodwin (D-Austin) has introduced a bill to give voters the choice to observe "Standard time" or "Daylight Saving Time" year round and in Congress, there's legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent.
"Absolutely, I would advocate for that," said Dr. McCorkle. "I think twice a year to throw people's systems, you know, completely out of whack for something that seems fairly arcane. It's something that we can do, a small thing that we can do to not disrupt people's circadian rhythms and sleep patterns for no good reason."
Although, some experts have expressed concern that making Daylight Saving Time permanent could also lead to negative health impacts. Others note it would make for a very late sunrise during the winter, creating potential safety concerns for kids headed to school.