End of daylight savings brings potential for negative side effects

As daylight saving time comes to an end this weekend, with clocks turning back one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, many people may begin to experience the physical and mental effects of the biannual time change.

The change can directly impact one’s mood and overall outlook, according to nurse practitioner Heather Branam of Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia.

“It’s a lot of mental adjustment. We’re losing a whole hour of daylight, which is going to affect moods, and depression is likely going to be a little higher for some,” Branam said. “We’ve gotten used to being outdoors and now it’s cold, we’re spending more time inside and we’re getting less sun exposure.”

ExploreOhio teens required to pass financial literacy under new law

Even for those who don’t normally experience “seasonal depression,” daylight saving time changes can lead to physical effects such as overall fatigue, which can last until your body adjusts. Branam said the best way to combat this is to prepare your body by altering bedtime routines by gradually going to sleep earlier.

“Sleep is super important to our overall wellbeing if you’re not sleeping well or getting an adequate amount of sleep, this can obviously cause fatigue, but can also exacerbate those depression symptoms, as well,” Branam said. “We all have this internal clock and it’s set, so it can take about a week after this time change for people to get more acclimated to this adjustment.”

According to a 2020 study by the National Institutes of Health, daylight saving time changes can also have more serious effects on overall health, including increased risk of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and immune-related diseases.

Branam pointed out that many people think the “fall back” time change won’t affect them negatively as it seemingly gives an extra hour for rest, however, this is often not the case.

“It all goes back to that internal clock and while we might feel like we’re getting an extra hour, you’re probably still going to wake up at the time your body would normally wake you up, so it is kind of misleading to think that we’re gaining an extra hour,” she said.

Daylight saving has been recognized by certain parts of the U.S. since 1918, and the Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the system of uniform daylight saving time throughout most of the country.

According to a 2019 poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 3 in 10 people prefer to switch back and forth between daylight saving time in the summer and standard time in the winter, while 7 in 10 Americans would prefer to stay on one set time.

About the Author