weekly blog--one for the ages
Putting a hold on the presidential debates for a moment, there is another debate taking place right now to ruffle your feathers: Which is better, changing the time to summer hours or standard time?
Retailers, chambers of commerce and recreational industries have historically wanted the sunny evenings that allow more time to shop and play. Researchers on human biological rhythms come down squarely on the side of the standard, wintertime hours referred to as “God’s time” by angry farmers who objected to daylight saving time when it was first widely adopted during World War I.
The measures getting the most traction right now are for permanent daylight saving time, which makes more sun available for after-work activities. In 2018, Florida passed a bill and California voters backed a ballot measure to do so. Maine, Delaware, Tennessee, Oregon and Washington joined in 2019, passing permanent daylight saving bills.
A German study of autopsies from 2006 to 2015, however, showed a significant uptick just after the spring switch in deaths caused by cardiac disease, traffic accidents and suicides. Researchers have also noted a significant increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. According to the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, messing with the body’s relationship to the sun can negatively affect not only sleep but also cardiac function, weight and cancer risk. One prominent study on different health outcomes within the same time zones concluded that each 20 minutes of later sunrise corresponded to an increase in certain cancers by 4% to 12%.