DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – One Kettering Health doctor is reminding people to reevaluate their sleep habits ahead of the change from daylight savings this weekend. Dr. Kevin Carter, medical director of the sleep clinic for Kettering Health, said in an interview that there’s no real utility for twice annual time change in modern times.
“The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has come out with a strong position against daylight savings time and they recommend just staying with standard time —24/7, 365 days a year,” he said.
The US government, so far, has decided not to get rid of the time changes that have been in effect since the 1960s. While it’s original purpose was to benefit people by allowing them use more natural light instead of electricity, Carter said the switch in schedules can actually be detrimental.
“When we have those little changes in that hour, that’s almost like jet lag, going to a different time zone — and it’s disruptive from a work standpoint. We see increased medical visits being missed when the time changes.”
He said those variations in the day coupled with significantly fewer daylight hours can have a negative impact on mental health.
“The biggest thing that we see is people with underlying anxiety and depression. So during the twice a year time change, we see an increase in mood disorders from anxiety, depression and even suicides go up slightly.”
Other functions of the body can also suffer with inadequate sleep, including memory, immune function and hormonal balance. And with a pandemic in full swing, Carter said daylight savings time is a great time to evaluate sleep habits.
“This is the time of year we get our flu shots. Well it’s really important to get good sleep after you get your flu shot because people who don’t get adequate sleep produce less antibodies, so that flu shot is less effective.”
Some of these issues, he said, can be mitigated by simply using this weekend’s extra hour wisely.
“People don’t take advantage of it,” he said. “They almost act like it’s an extra paycheck and they spend it. So they’re not taking advantage of that extra hour and so we’d really like people to really focus on their sleep and take advantage of it.”