ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Here’s the idea behind Daylight Saving Time: we move our clocks forward by an hour during the spring to be more efficient with our daylight. We don’t need to use the lights as much when we have later sunsets on long summer days.
As the days get shorter in the fall and after farmers have collected their harvest, we turn the clocks back an hour to get back onto standard time for the holidays.
However, the United States is one of the few nations in the world that does this and new research has questioned just how healthy – and safe – the practice is.
While many Americans will enjoy the extra hour of sleep on Sunday, the time change can have dramatic effects on a person’s health. For one, Daylight Saving Time throws off your circadian rhythm, your body’s sleep cycle.
Doctors have noted that even small time changes can cause chronic sleep loss and lead to more serious problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or stroke.
The end of Daylight Saving Time has also been linked to cluster headaches, a type of severe headache the constantly recurs and is often limited to one side of the head. Experts believe these headaches are directly caused by circadian rhythms in the brain.
Many study participants have reported feeling less alert and less focused following the autumn time change. A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says this loss of focus is concerning – especially when there are millions of drivers who must now commute home in the dark.
“Driving is an activity that requires total concentration and focus and many drivers will lose that this weekend in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “The sudden lack of sunlight can cause some drivers to feel extra sleepy on their commute home and when drivers are fatigued, everyone’s safety can be put at risk.”
Have you ever noticed that you can be groggy on a dark and rainy day? There’s science behind it. Doctors have found that as the sun goes down, our bodies start producing melatonin, a hormone that makes us tired and as we approach winter, each day is getting darker by a few minutes.
On November 6th, the day gets darker by an entire hour.
Pedestrians are most at risk. According to data from traffic analysts across the nation, more pedestrians are killed by cars immediately following the spring and fall time changes.
After analyzing more than 20 years of data, one study reported there was a significant increase in the number of accidents the Monday immediately following the fall time shift. Researchers said this is likely due to a sudden increase in ‘late night’ driving.
A Rochester car accident lawyer says the 5 o’clock rush hour on Monday will be darker – and more dangerous but if drivers are more aware of the risks, they are more likely to put a greater focus on the task ahead: driving home and driving safely.
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