Healthy Living: Daylight Saving Time & your health

Who doesn't love an extra hour of daylight to get things done?  Another hour of sleep, yes!  Daylight Saving Time has been around for decades, first established in the U.S. in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act, according to CNN.  In the mid 1970's, Congress extended Daylight Saving Time in order to save energy during the energy crisis.

As a result most states still Spring forward in March and Fall back in November, losing an hour of sleep in the former and gaining and hour in the latter.  Additionally, about 70 countries also observe Daylight Saving Time.

In the 2018 Midterm Elections, voters in California approved Proposition 7, embracing the idea of year-round Daylight Saving Time.  It still needs approval from the state legislature and Congress.  If it's given the green light, Prop 7 would mean the people of California would not adjust their clocks twice yearly.

In Washington State, Senator Jim Honeyford is working to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.  He hopes to have it in place by the Spring of 2020.

"We will continue to monitor what happens in California and if it moves forward we will have conversations with California and Oregon about what it means for the entire West Coast" said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Whether you love it, hate it, or just don't care, studies have shown it has a bigger impact on our health than you may realize.  In fact, a study  published in 2016 by the American Academy of Neurology found the rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days following daylight saving time.   Furthermore, they found people with cancer were 25% more likely to have a stroke in that same time period.   Other studies have linked the time change to an increase in auto accidents and workplace injuries due to sleep deprivation.

Keep in mind, researchers say the risk is brief, and our natural circadian clocks adapt to the change after about two days.

Earlier this year, the European Union also proposed ending Daylight Saving Time.

EU Plans to abolish daylight saving time

Doctors say most of us need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night