Daylight savings is not saving mental health

Vydalia Weatherly, Staff writer

On Nov. 6, the United States, Europe, Canada and other nations across the globe turned their clocks back one hour. While many appreciated the extra hour of sleep on Sunday night, the appreciation for the day did not go beyond that.

Across the nation, thousands of people have a challenging time adjusting to it getting darker earlier in the day. Students are feeling the effects of daylight savings here at Mercyhurst as well.

Cooper Hicks a senior Music major reacted to the lack of daylight.

“I don’t like how it gets dark at like 4 p.m.,” said Hicks.

For others, getting darker out earlier results in detrimental health effects.

“It honestly really messes with my mental state all winter. I end up feeling tired and unproductive by 6 p.m.,” said Veronica Guerrini, a senior In- terior Architecture and Design major.

Teddie Dombrowski, a junior majoring in Sports Medicine, agreed with Guerrini saying, “My mental health is severely affected by Daylight Savings.”

In recent years, there has been a movement to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.

In March of last year, the United States Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act. If passed into law, when we turn our clocks an hour forward in Spring 2023, that will be the last time Americans will take part in this practice.

In the past, state legislatures have attempted to make Daylight Savings Times permanent, but it was unable to go into effect due to not being federal law.

This is not the first attempt to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. In January 1974, President Nixon signed a law to make Daylight Savings permanent, but law did not last past October when Congress voted to repeal the law.

According to CNN, Proponents say that extra daylight in the evening cuts down on car accidents and crime, and increases opportunities for commerce and recreation, as people prefer to shop and exercise during daylight hours.

Despite politicians rushing to end the dance of moving clocks back and forth, sleep experts have shared some insight on this.

“I’m one of the many sleep experts that knows it’s a bad idea,” Elizabeth Klerman, Ph.D., a professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, told CNN.

“Your body clock stays with (natural) light not with the clock on your wall,” said Klerman. “And there’s no evidence that your body fully shifts to the new time.”

According to CNN Health, a 2003 study found the detrimental effects of getting less sleep due to Daylight Savings. “Getting one hour less sleep for two weeks had the same effect on thinking and motor skills as going without sleep for two full nights. Reducing sleep by 90 minutes from the recommended 7 to 8 hours for adults altered the DNA of immune cells and boosted inflammation, a key cause of chronic disease, according to another study,” said Sandee LaMotte, an author for CNN Health.

It appears making Daylight Savings permanent is never successful, yet we continue to try. “The United States has tried permanent daylight saving time twice before and ended it early. The UK tried once before and ended it early. Russia tried it once, so did India and ended it early,” Klerman said to CNN. “I think we should learn from history.”

For now, we must wait to see if we move our clocks back next October or not.

Students who feel that their study habits and mental health are being poorly affected by daylight savings time are encouraged to go to sleep at an earlier time and get your body on a maintained schedule.

Seasonal depression is common this time of year, so take extra care of yourself and make sure to prioritize your mental health.