Skip to main content
Daylight Savings Effect on Your Health

You are listening to Health Library:

Daylight Savings Effect on Your Health

Mar 07, 2019

Twice a year in the United States we change our clocks forward or backward, and it can really mess with our daily rhythm. But could daylight savings time actually have a negative impact on your health? Psychologist Dr. Kelly Baron talks about what the research says and offers ways to get your daily routine back on track after the time change.

Episode Transcript

Announcer: Health information from experts supported by research. From University of Utah Health, this is

Interviewer: There are a lot of jokes out there about spring forward Daylight Savings Time, lose that hour of sleep. Is there actually a significant health impact to losing that hour of sleep? Well, we're going to find out right now. Dr. Kelly Baron is a clinical psychologist with specialty training in behavioral sleep medicine. Losing this hour of sleep, is it going to affect me?

Dr. Baron: The most interesting thing is that twice a year we have this Daylight Saving Time, either spring forward or fall back, and it's like a giant experiment in the population about what happens when you gain or lose an hour of sleep. And so what we notice is there's actually an increase in heart attacks, an increase in motor vehicle accidents in the couple of days surrounding that spring forward.

And actually, in the fall, there's the opposite effect, a decrease for a few days. And, you know, I notice that I'm early for things over the fall back and then late a little bit, you know. So it does affect your body's clock. So you lose an hour, but also you're waking up at a time your body thinks you should be sleeping, and in the fall you enjoy that extra extension of your sleep. And so it's a really good time to bring awareness to what sleep does for our health because everybody feels it so acutely for those few days, and it's across the whole population.

Interviewer: You know, I think most of us know that sleep's important, but maybe we just kind of don't realize how important to our health it is beyond just feeling a little drowsy the next day if we don't get enough sleep. But, man, your story about the two time changes and how it affects people, that's crazy. So what is a good strategy for dealing with the time change?

Dr. Baron: You're really best off to maintain a consistent schedule, to get up at the same time because that morning is really the anchor of your sleep schedule. And then, you could even think, if you'd like to, to gradually move your sleep schedule forward. Most people probably aren't going to do that, but the best thing you can really do is not oversleep too much over the weekend of Daylight Saving Time.

Interviewer: How long does it usually take for somebody to kind of acclimate to that time change?

Dr. Baron: It may take you three or four days.

Interviewer: Okay. So don't beat yourself up too much about it.

Dr. Baron: Wednesday or Thursday. I mean, so you're going to be tired in the morning, or maybe you'll be a little bit late to work.

Interviewer: At least you got an excuse once a year, right?

Dr. Baron: Tell them I told you it's okay.

Interviewer: All right. Well, sounds fair, and I think maybe Daylight Savings Time a good opportunity for all of us, maybe, to reevaluate and take a look at our sleep habits, our sleep schedules, and make sure that we're getting all that healthy sleep that we need.

Announcer: Have a question about a medical procedure? Want to learn more about a health condition? With over 2,000 interviews with our physicians and specialists, there's a pretty good chance you'll find what you want to know. Check it out at