Daylight Saving time change could create health issues


Many people look forward to Daylight Saving Time in the fall because of the extra hour of sleep, but experts warn setting the clocks back comes with a price.

Doctor Allan Jacobs with Hartford Healthcare said Daylight Saving Time could cause some health issues.

"People feel more down, more sluggish, more depressed, less motivated," Jacobs said.

When Daylight Saving Time ends early Sunday morning, the sun will set earlier, and that can throw off people's circadian rhythms. Dr. Jacobs said the lack of light may trigger seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder.

"We don't have nearly as much sunshine as people in Florida do over winter. So it is more common from that point of view," Dr. Jacobs said.

Experts said anyone can be diagnosed with "sad," but it's more common in women, and people between the ages of 15 and 55. Dr. Jacobs said some benefit from light therapy with the guidance of a professional.

"You'd get a certain type of light that usually is 10,000 lux rating light, not ultraviolet light, not a tanning light. So, it's not dangerous in terms of burning you. You use it for maybe 15 to 20 minutes a day and that gives you a lot of equivalent natural light," Dr. Jacobs said.

Other symptoms are drowziness and having trouble concentrating. That's why police in New York are stressing the city's "Vision Zero" effort to get driver's attention.

"Early onset of darkness in the fall and winter months is highly correlated with an increase in traffic injuries and fatalities," said Chief Thomas Chan of the New York Police Department.

The call from experts is to be mindful and safe when the clocks fall back because they won't spring forward until March.

"It's usually better to have the guidance of a medical professional to ensure you don't use light therapy for a month, then try an anti-depressant. You want it taken care of as quickly as possible," Dr. Jacobs said.

The clocks will fall back on Sunday, November 5 at 2 a.m.

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