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Expert Explains Why Daylight Saving Is Unhealthy And Dangerous

Charisa Bossinakis

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Expert Explains Why Daylight Saving Is Unhealthy And Dangerous

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

An expert has revealed why changing the clocks twice a year can hurt our mental health and makes us more prone to illness.

Daylight saving ended for some Aussies over the weekend, which gave everyone an extra hour in bed.

While some might have enjoyed the change, Monash University associate professor Sean Cain told news.com.au’s Have I Got News For You podcast this twice-annual change can actually do some damage.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

“I would definitely say it is bad,” he said. “I would say it‘s dangerous. It’s not like you switch over (to daylight saving) and people will drop dead. 

"So it’s not that level of danger, it’s just an extra bit of unhealthiness that you don’t need in general, at a population level, these little changes, these little vulnerabilities add up.”

Mr Cain attributed these ‘vulnerabilities’ are due to the interruption that occurs with circadian rhythms, impacting our sleep cycle.

“It is quite obvious to everyone why it‘s bad if it’s used year long,” he said.

“For one thing, you will see, more illness, more chronic illness, more sleep problems, more mental health problems where it is used. It‘s like having a little bit of jet lag everyday.“

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

PhD Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Joseph S. Takahashi said that while the end of daylight saving time provides an extra hour of sleep, the reset is less forgiving on our bodies.

He wrote in a UT Southwestern report: "Every cell in our bodies keeps track of the time, and changes in daily patterns can trigger stress in our brains and cause sleep deprivation, disorientation, and memory loss. 

"It can also lead to difficulties with learning, social interactions, and overall cognitive function."

While most Australians may have felt the impact of switching the clock’s handle, Queensland and Western Australia have yet to implement daylight saving time.

With the US Senate recently passing the Sunshine Protection Act, the demand to make daylight saving time permanent in Australia has grown.

One user on Twitter wrote: “Great for full time workers as there's more daylight to do things after work.”

While another user wrote: “Omg. Yes! This archaic system of changing clocks in a modern international would is ridiculous.”

And a third user commented: “Hell Yes !! We are not run on the back of farming anymore.”

Topics: News, Health, Science, Australia

Charisa Bossinakis
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