Most people in the United States lost an hour of sleep this weekend as clocks switched to daylight saving time, a disruptive biannual shift experts warn is harmful and contributes to an already significant sleep debt that has wide-ranging implications for health and… wellbeing has .
Poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes, inflammation, high blood pressure, depression, stroke and heart disease.
Lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain, research suggests, possibly due to a number of factors — including more time to eat, less energy to exercise, and hormonal changes affecting appetite.
Sleep deprivation leads to impaired decision-making and judgment — research shows that sleep-deprived drivers are more likely to have car accidents — and can cause memory problems.
Research also shows that we’re less generous when we’re tired, and US charitable donations drop by 10% in the days following the Daylight Saving Day.
Poor sleep also appears to suppress the immune system, and research found that sleeping less than six hours the night before an injection resulted in weaker immune responses, but only in men.
College students who sleep less tend to have lower grades, according to a recent study that linked every hour of average nighttime sleep lost early in the academic semester to a 0.07-point drop in GPA at the end of the semester .
In most parts of the United States, clocks went forward one hour to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday. The highly unpopular shift, according to polls, causes the average American to lose 40 minutes of sleep the following night. That loss doesn’t seem to be recouped when the clocks “turn back” in the fall, adding to the sleep debts of an already sleepless nation.
Sleep plays a crucial role in human well-being and touches every aspect of health. Scientists don’t understand exactly what happens when we sleep or why we need it, although research suggests it plays a key role in forming memories, removing waste from the brain, repairing cells, and affecting our hormones and metabolism. Although exact estimates vary, research generally agrees that Americans aren’t getting nearly as much sleep as they need, or as often as they need it. The exact recommended amount of sleep changes throughout life, but adults are advised to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. The CDC estimates that one in three adults does not get this. Experts, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Medical Association, support doing away with the biannual clock change and using only one time system, but don’t believe the US should permanently adopt daylight saving time. They argue that permanent standard time is better suited to human biology and say the system will be better for public health and safety. Sleep plays a crucial role in human well-being and touches every aspect of health. Scientists don’t understand exactly what happens when we sleep or why we need it, although research suggests it plays a key role in forming memories, removing waste from the brain, repairing cells, and affecting our hormones and metabolism.
$411 billion. That’s how much poor sleep among workers costs the US each year, according to RAND Europe, which found that workers who don’t get enough sleep report lower productivity. With that figure, which equates to roughly 1.23 million workdays lost annually due to lack of sleep, the US ranks first when it comes to economic losses from lack of sleep.
What to look out for
Legislators and experts are pushing to abolish the twice-yearly time change. While there is broad support for a permanent change to a time zone, there is little consensus as to what time that should be. The Senate voted unanimously last year to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, although the bill failed in the House of Representatives, reportedly over disagreements over which time system to adopt. The bill was reinstated in March and is likely to face similar problems when it goes back to the House of Representatives.
The Sleep Debt Collector Is Here (NYT)
It’s called “Bedtime Procrastination,” and you can probably guess what it is (Scientific American)
Daylight Saving Time: How America’s Annual “Spring Forward” Is Bad For Your Health (Forbes)