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6 Reasons It Might Be Time to Get Rid of Daylight Saving Time

When we hit daylight savings time in the spring, the amount of daylight stays the same—but we get less light in the morning and more in the evening. Is the switch worth it?

It could trigger depression

A Danish study in the journal Epidemiology looking at 185,419 hospital contacts for depression between 1995 and 2012 found that after daylight saving time ends and evenings get darker, incidents of depression goes up. The uptick in depression lasts for about ten weeks after the evenings suddenly get darker. The researchers think the sudden change messes with circadian rhythms, and the suddenly darker evenings could trigger distress. Don’t miss these healthy ways to deal with the end of daylight saving time.

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It could cause headaches

Some people who deal with cluster headaches report the pains increase when the clocks change in the spring and fall. The headaches could be connected to nerves in the brain that deal with the body’s internal clock, and researchers think the sudden change to circadian rhythm—bedtime doesn’t line up with the sunlight how it did 24 hours ago—could trigger the pain.

senior hospital bedLightField Studios/Shutterstock

Stroke risk could go up for a couple days

Researchers looked at Finnish hospitalizations for ischemic stroke between 2004 and 2013 and found that stroke risk was higher during the first two days after daylight saving time began or ended than it was for the two weeks before and after. They conclude that the sleep disruptions the time change causes could be a risk factor.

Man having chest pain, heart attack.amornchaijj/Shutterstock

Heart attack risk goes up

The day after daylight saving time begins sees 25 percent more heart attacks than the average Monday, according to a Michigan Medicine study tracking hospitalizations between 2010 and 2013. The researchers think the stress of starting a new workweek and getting used to a new sleep pattern could be at play. On the flip side, there were 21 percent fewer heart attacks the Tuesday after daylight saving time ended, though no other days around time changes had any significant changes. Don’t miss these other weird things that happen to your body when daylight saving time ends.

It messes with your sleep

Having more daylight during summer evenings to go outside and enjoy the warm weather sounds great, but it could be messing with your sleep habits, Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, tells National Geographic. Morning light should signal it’s time to wake up, and a dark evening lets our bodies know we should get ready for bed—but the long summer nights mix those signals up, so we aren’t ready to go to sleep when we should. “The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased the quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired,” Roenneberg says.

It might not save much energy

The evidence is mixed when it comes to whether daylight saving time actually saves energy, which is the reason it started in the first place. A 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the country uses 0.5 percent less energy for every additional day of daylight saving time. Still, southern states didn’t have as many energy savings as northern states, possibly because they used more air conditioning. That’s consistent with a European study that found daylight saving does, in fact, save energy for areas farther from the Equator, but areas closer to it actually end up using more energy. Check out these other 11 eye-opening facts about daylight saving time.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.