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Daylight Saving Ends: Can Falling Back an Hour Affect Your Health?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming to an end, folks, as we fall back for the fall and winter. On November 1, most citizens across the United States will set their clocks back an hour. Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don’t observe Daylight Saving Time, excepting the Navajo Indian Reservation.

As we fall back an hour at 2 a.m. this Sunday, November 1, and get a little more time to rest in, it’s important to really consider whether or not this shift in an hour will have any impact on our health. Afterall, some states have considered “locking the clock” to prevent switching time twice each year and retain a standard year-round.

Falling Back: To Do or Not to Do? That is the Question

A number of experts agree that while adding an additional hour can seem great, it’s not so great for our bodies.

Dr. Meir Kyrger at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut told TODAY, “there is no great reason to switch back and forth…it is disruptive in a lot of different ways.” Even leaders of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) made a written statement saying that the United States needs to adopt a “fixed, national, year-round standard time” (World Population Review).

And here’s the reason. When we change our clocks once Daylight Saving Time ends, we’re potentially disrupting our bodies’ natural, internal clocks, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information which also acknowledged that “for most people, changing the time, even if only by 1 hour, may produce tiredness as a small inconvenience. Other people, however, can have more serious consequences.”

For one, exposure to sunlight provides our bodies with Vitamin D, and when we lose sunlight, that can affect our Vitamin D levels and lead to depression. Dr. Alok Kanojia with the Harvard Medical School specifically mentioned this concerning Bostonians and the effects that falling back an hour can have: “Vitamin D is produced by sunlight mostly and so lower exposures to Vitamin D leads to an increased risk of depression” (Boston25 News).

And for those who are already beginning to experience the symptoms, Dr. Norman Rosenthal of Georgetown University says: “Winter’s shorter days already deprive the brain of light, but the end of daylight saving time can compound that effect” (The Chicago Tribune). 

How to Prepare for the End of Daylight Savings Time

With many experts agreeing that the switch in time can affect our bodies, what can we do to prepare if our state observes this change?

Go ahead and start adjusting your sleep schedule early 

The Sleep Foundation recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep to help you make the transition. You can easily start going to bed a little later each night so that you’re more likely to wake up closer to your normal time.

Watch those caffeinated beverages! 

Caffeine can disrupt your sleep routine. That’s why it’s important to avoid caffeinated beverages after the lunch hour.

Take some time for yourself

Don’t forget to make a little time for yourself during the week, whether that’s participating in an activity you enjoy or just taking some time to relax and relieve stress.

Photo by Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm / GettyImages


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Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.