Impacts of Daylight Savings Time on Sleep, Overall Health: Karin Johnson, MD, FAASM


The professor of neurology at UMass Chan School of Medicine discussed the various impacts Daylight Savings Time has on sleep quality and overall health in children and adolescents. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"But what a lot of people don't realize is the long-term effects during the 8-month period on Daylight Saving Time. We may blame it on other things, but what we know is that those hour later sunrises and sunsets are associated with about a 10% increase rate of cancer, at least a 10% increase risk of obesity, and increased risk of heart disease."

While 60% of countries across the world follow standard time all year, most of the US shifts between standard and Daylight Savings Time (DST) each year; however, several individuals question the impact that changing clocks has on health. DST is the time between March and November when most US states turn the clocks forward 1 hour. A few states, including Hawaii and Arizona, do not change from Standard Time.

In early 2022, the US Senate passed legislation that would make DST permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating for brighter afternoons and more economic activity. Otherwise known as the Sunshine Protection Act, the measure was unanimously approved by the Senate; however, the legislation was never brought up for vote with the House of Representatives, despite broad support among lawmakers and the American people.

At the 2023 SLEEP Annual Meeting, held June 3-7, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Karin Johnson, MD, FAASM, chaired a session on sleep health advocacy, and the impacts DST has on younger generations. Johnson, a professor of neurology at UMass Chan School of Medicine, sat down with NeurologyLive® at the conference to discuss the reasons for doing away with DST, and thus, improving overall health in children and adolescents. She spoke specifically about the negative impacts of DST seen in research, and why previous conceived notions about a change to permanent standard time may be incorrect.

Click here for more coverage of SLEEP 2023.

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