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Daylight Saving Time: A Clock in Debate

As we approach the daylight saving time change this spring, many of us anticipate the effects that this annual tradition has on our well-being. While setting the clocks forward promises longer evenings and more daylight to enjoy, we cannot overlook the challenges it presents to our health. 

Cambiando hora del reloj

It is well known that the time change affects our sleep patterns and can alter the secretion of melatonin, a key hormone in the regulation of our sleep-wake cycle. But, what more do we know about the effects of this practice that has been with us for over a century?

Recent studies point to consequences beyond our internal clock. Sanitas mentions how some research has linked the change to daylight saving time with a slight increase in the cases of myocardial infarction in the days following the change. Similarly, an increase in the suicide rate and traffic accidents has been observed during this period. Although the return to standard time seems to alleviate these effects, generating fewer incidents, it is crucial to note that these data are primarily statistical and do not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

The Spanish Sleep Society (SES) and experts like UMU professor and chronobiologist Juan Antonio Madrid have joined the debate, highlighting the need to better understand these phenomena and their real impacts on public health. The question remains: after 116 years of changing the time, is it really beneficial and healthy to continue with this practice?

These findings should not alarm us, but they do invite reflection. It is evident that the time change does not affect everyone in the same way, with more sensitive individuals possibly experiencing more pronounced effects. What is clear is that our organism is a complex system, influenced by numerous external factors, including sunlight and how we perceive time.

As we continue to adapt to these bi-annual changes, it is also important to consider ongoing research and debates about their true usefulness. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate our practices and look for alternatives that better harmonize with the health and well-being of society.

What do you think? Is it time to stop changing the clock?

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