Standard time, the effects on health

Standard time, the effects on health

On the night between Saturday and Sunday, by convention set between 2 and 3, solar time returns. We will sleep an extra hour, a small compensation for the hour of sleep taken away from us since summer time came into force six months ago, in exchange for longer mornings and at the price of darker afternoons. A small change only in appearance, given that for some time now politicians and the scientific community have been evaluating the possibility of extending summer time throughout the year, in the name of greater benefits in terms of energy saving.

But what are the effects of this change on our body? Certainly forcing the body to change pace twice a year can cause some discomfort.

Circadian rhythms and our body

“Every living being on Earth is regulated by circadian rhythms, which confer a biological advantage called “anticipation”. This is because if a phenomenon is rhythmic, it is predictable and each tissue can therefore organize itself to optimize each of its activities”, he explained to Salute the professor Roberto Manfredini, chronobiologist at the University of Ferrara. “The disturbance of circadian rhythms is documented to be the basis of a wide series of disorders affecting numerous organs and systems. And even changing the time twice a year represents a form of desynchronization.”

“For everyone, changing time can lead to alterations in sleep and incorrect meal times, which are the main causes of metabolic disorders”, recalls the neurologist Alessandro Cicolincoordinator of the regional reference center for sleep disorders of San Giovanni Battista in Turin.

The relationship between sleep and mood

“There is a close relationship between sleep and mood – he explained previously Paola Proserpio, head of the Sleep Medicine Center at the Niguarda hospital in Milan -. People who have trouble sleeping often have depressive symptoms or underlying anxiety, and may be irritable or demoralized the days after the time change. Without forgetting the physical appearance. Headache, abdominal pain, the alteration of those mechanisms mediated by the parasympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system which take over with rest and ‘protect’ the cardiovascular system”. However, to recover, he adds, a week is usually enough.

Maintain daylight saving time all year round?

Bills would certainly benefit, health a little less. “Permanent summer time may be out of sync with the biological clock and therefore prove deleterious, increasing the risk of negative consequences on the metabolism and cardiovascular system by up to 20%”, has explained Annamaria Colao, president of Sie and professor of endocrinology at the Federico II University of Naples. Darker mornings and brighter evenings could have negative effects on the amount of sleep and consequently also on the risk of obesity, overweight and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, with deleterious effects also on the heart, warns the Italian Society of Endocrinology in a document.

Some advice before sleeping

A good rule is that electronic devices should always be avoided before sleeping. Blue light inhibits or delays the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake rhythm, and is an activating input that stimulates the subject to stay up.

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