Well then — for those wringing their hands over daylight savings and what it means for their sleep schedule, here’s just one more thing to worry about… early death.
USA Today reports that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Public Safety Committee wants to do away with DST in its entirety because, when you mess with people’s sleep schedules, it creates havoc on the roads and on the human body.
“There’s really no reason we should continue,” the academy’s Erin Flynn-Evans said, “The negative health consequences and the negative effect on multivehicular crashes in the spring are just not worth it.”
The academy is pointing to the many good things sleep accomplishes, like better decision making and improving other important cognitive functions, to prove that falling back and springing forward is damaging. Not only does good sleep curb impulsive decisions, it also helps to stabilize moods and reduces the risk of mental disorders like depression and substance abuse.
So, when DST knocks on every American’s brain, it does away with sleep’s benefits.
Current Biology, a peer-reviewed journal, claims fatal traffic accidents jumped by six percent when the country sprang ahead last year. The West Coast saw the highest risk.
Also, researchers in Finland told Sleep Medicine that DST also increases the risk of having a stroke — with chances going up by eight percent during the first two days of changing the clocks. Over the age of 65? Your chances are more than double, at 20 percent.
But with all this research arguing against DST, will it help do away with the practice or just give us all more to worry about?