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UVA professors weigh in daylight saving

Published: Mar. 13, 2022 at 8:53 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - To reset your clocks or to not reset? That is the question some professors at the University of Virginia are asking.

“The sun rising, and sunsetting is one of the most permanent things that happens through evolution, right?” associate professor of biology, Ali Guler said.

Guler says humans are biologically adjusted to solar time when it comes to waking up when the sun rises and going to bed when it sets.

“Even during standard time, the solar noon is slightly behind standard time and what we are going to do on daylight savings time is even push it further. So, we are going to be actually offsetting from that natural clock by about an hour and a half,” Guler said.

The farther we move away from our natural clock, he says, the worse it is for our health.

“Over your lifetime, the combination of all of these pressures that you put to your system, including receiving wrong timing information will have its implications in your health,” Guler said.

Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, Kim Penberthy, agrees that changing the time can have a real impact on your body.

“There are reports and evidence in the literature that there’s increased heart problems, cardiac arrest, increased car accidents and we know there’s an association with mood as well,” Penberthy said. “So, increase rates of depression.”

She questions how necessary the change is.

“What’s the utility now and is there enough of a utility to make it, you know, worth doing even knowing that there are some risks that seem to come with the switching of time,” Penberthy said.

This controversy is nothing new, with some states already pushing for one set time, but Guler believes they’re pushing for the wrong one.

“A lot of the pushes to go to the daylight saving time rather than the standard time for this long, elongated afternoon, but that is actually not aligned with our solar day and I think that eventually will cause problems,” Guler said.

If you feel a little off over the next week, it may be from the time change.

“Give yourself time to adapt and rest and know that it will get better especially over the spring and summer,” Penberthy said.

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