Daylight Savings Time and Its Impact on Your Health

By Melina Wisecup

NEW YORK— Daylight savings time starts Sunday at 2 a.m. when Americans will lose an hour in order to have more sunlight in the evening until the last Sunday of October.

A commonly known fact is that changes in sleeping time affects our body’s circadian rhythms, also known as body clocks.

But there is more to it than just a disturbed body rhythm. Dr. Michael Gelb explains how getting less sleep affects the body’s hormones on a larger scale.

“Following daylight savings time our cravings go up. So if you don’t sleep well your hormones, you leptin and your ghrelin are going to be off. You’re going to crave food, you’re going to make bad decisions,” Dr. Michael Gelb said.

woman sleeping
Stock photo of a woman sleeping. (xiangying_xu/Pixabay)

Although the effects from changed sleep patterns after daylight savings lasts only a few days, our whole society experiences sleep deprivation all year round. This can take a toll on our overall long term health.

Dr. Gelb explains how lack of sleep causes a build up of inflammation in the body, which starts to affect the blood vessels. If the sleep deprivation persists, it can result in long term affects– even causing the body to age prematurely.

“When you don’t get enough sleep or good quality sleep, it actually starts to affect the brain and the inflammation and actually the blood-brain barrier and so it makes it more susceptible to toxins. So the brain doesn’t get as much restoration and renewal,” Dr. Gelb explained. “What we could know is that getting a good night’s sleep will help restore the heart, will help prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as well as help prevent dementia and alzheimer’s.”

Daylight savings now provides us all with that perfect opportunity to reflect on our sleeping habits and make the adjustments that, in the long term, will help us get more restorative nights of sleep.

While adjusting the clocks tonight is a nuisance for some, for others, it’s worth the extra daylight.

New York tourist Elena Diaz told NTD, “I really am a little bummed about it especially since I’m in New York and I’m going to lose an hour,” she said of her travel plans. “But I do find it beneficial to have a little more daylight.”

Another New York resident also said she is looking forward to the extended summer twilight hours in a few months time.

“I’m very excited about the time change because that means more light and the summer’s coming and that’s more fun,” Candice Balchunas told NTD.

People all over the country favor the extra hour of evening daylight, and this year, 32 states are considering 77 bills to keep the daylight savings time permanent all year round.