Daylight Savings Time comes with risks.

The Downside To Daylight Saving Time

Spring forward?

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It’s almost time to “spring forward” into Daylight Saving Time (DST) – which is set to commence this coming Sunday morning (March 10, 2024) at 2:00 a.m. While some welcome the time shift that brings with it more evening daylight, most have had enough of the practice.

According to a Monmouth University Poll, more than six in ten Americans (61 percent) would do away with the nation’s twice-a-year time change. A YouGov poll from 2023 confirmed roughly the same number – 62 percent of respondents – want to discontinue the biannual time change, with the majority preferring to make DST permanent year-round. 

Of course we’ll feel tired as our bodies adjust to DST, but studies show there are some real health risks associated with the time change. Mohamed S. Soliman, MD, with Carolina Pulmonary, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, says “the circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that regulates sleep in humans and is synchronized with natural light-darkness cycles.”

“Circadian misalignment associated with DST can contribute to sleep loss and debt, which refers to the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep regularly,” Dr. Soliman added.

The adverse effects (risks) of Daylight Savings Time include:

  • The risk of heart attack increases in the first three weekdays after switching to DST in the spring.
  • Tiredness induced by the clock change is thought to be the leading cause for the increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the start of DST.
  • On the Monday after the start of DST, there were more workplace injuries, which were more severe than on other Mondays.
  • The start of DST has also been linked to miscarriages for in vitro fertilization patients.
  • A study found an 11 percent increase in depression cases after the time change. The cases dissipated gradually after 10 weeks.
  • Another study found that male suicide rates increased in the days after the spring and fall DST shifts.

Even though disrupting the circadian rhythm can have serious effects, most studies find that they pass during the days following a DST change.



Dr. Soliman offered these tips to help your body prepare for the time change:

  • Prepare a few days before DST starts by gradually advancing your sleep time by 15-20 minutes every night.
  • Stick to your schedule.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol in the evenings.
  • Avoid long naps.
  • Eat healthy and avoid heavy meals a few hours before bed.

In 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act – which would permanently activate daylight savings time. The proposed legislation was not approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, however.

Alternatively, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advocated for a permanent change to standard time – noting it aligned with our natural circadian rhythm. It’s also safer for commuters and children going to school because there is more daylight during the morning hours. 



Lexington Medical Center is a hospital system serving Columbia, Lexington, and the rest of the South Carolina Midlands area. For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named Lexington Medical Center as the best hospital in the Columbia Metro area.



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Kevin Smith Top fan March 7, 2024 at 11:32 am

I see articles about this every November and March. While I would love to stay on DST year around, changing the clocks twice a year is not that big of a deal. It’s hard to believe that 1 hour can cause all of the health issues that have been batted around for the last decade in these articles. I myself laugh at these claims. Try rotating shifts for 21 years, then get back to me.

Ralph Hightower Top fan March 7, 2024 at 12:13 pm

Before I retired, I enjoyed the extra hour of daylight during the spring, summer, and fall months. Now retired, it doesn’t make much difference. Commuting during the winter, I would leave home in darkness, but the sun would rise before I arrived at work. I would arrive at home during darkness. Having daylight saving time in the winter, that extra hour would be fleeting. Plus there’s the safety factor, that extra hour of darkness, would mean an extra hour of darkness for kids waiting for the school bus.

On a fun note, we had a Beagle that could “tell time”. At 7 PM, Zeus would be at the back door, barking, telling us that it was dinner time. Springing forward would tripped him up for a few days because he would be an hour early telling us that it was dinner time. For the first few days of falling back he enjoyed getting dinner an hour early.

CongareeCatfish Top fan March 7, 2024 at 5:00 pm

I just want the time changes to stop. Pick one of the standards and stick with it.

Jeff Uhlig Top fan March 7, 2024 at 5:44 pm

Most of the reasons for DST in the first place are no longer relevant. As for kids waiting for the school bus… has anyone checked the parking lots at high schools not to mention the long lines of parents dropping their kids off of elementary and middle school… either way doesn’t matter to me.


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