A new report looks at the widespread impact of daylight saving time and how circadian disruptions affect every aspect of our sleep and health. We talk to lead author, Dr Miguel Meira e Cruz about the scientific consensus that’s building about the harmful effects of DST.
02:45 Introducing Dr Miguel Meira e Cruz
04:13 Recent proposals to abolish Daylight Saving Time (DST)
06:11 The origins and history of Daylight Saving Time
09:33 Sleep is only one of the many functions affected by DST
11:27 How DST impacts on sleep loss and circadian disruption
12:24 The difficulty of making associations between DST and sleep loss
13:45 Why sleep-related road traffic accidents are worse than drunk driving accidents
14:52 Does DST affect ethical decision making?
16:27 Why DST is not the same as jet-lag
20:14 The emerging field of circadian medicine
22:52 Chronopharmacology – the importance of taking medicines at the right time
25:10 Why permanent standard (winter) time is the appropriate time to maintain
Last year, the European Union proposed putting a permanent end to Daylight Saving Time (DST), the twice yearly practice of changing the clocks in order to maximise the amount of daylight during longer winter evenings.
But apart from the discussion around the economic advantages or disadvantages of DST, there’s been little public debate, or enquiry into what’s arguably a much more important factor – the widespread health impacts of disrupting our circadian clocks twice a year.
The most obvious impact of DST is how it affects our sleep patterns. And indeed, studies have suggested many associations between fatigue related accidents and reduced cognitive functions around the time of the clocks changing.
However, new research, in the field of circadian medicine is revealing that widespread circadian disruptions such as those caused by daylight saving time could be having a far wider impact on our health than previously thought.
In this episode we speak to researcher and sleep scientist Professor Miguel Meira e Cruz about a new report he has co-authored which examines the many detrimental effects of daylight saving time on our circadian timing system.
This Episode’s Guest
Dr Miguel Meira e Cruz is an academic researcher, professor and coordinator of the postgraduate course in Chronobiology and Sleep Medicine at CESPU, Porto, Lisbon. He is an affiliate of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory of the Cardiovascular Center, University of Lisbon, where he coordinates the sleep unit.
Link to study on DST impact: https://www.ejinme.com/article/S0953-6205(19)30013-5/abstract