Two weekends a year, much of the northern hemisphere is changing the time to take advantage of the hours of daylight. The idea comes from far away. It was first introduced by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 to reduce the consumption of candles and oil lamps.
The change of time was nevertheless regularized in most Western countries in 1974.In Spain, this change of time was regulated by a royal decree in 2002. Although it should in principle be renewed every five years, this custom has been given an indefinite character by the European Union.
Although some experts discuss the effectiveness of the time change,this custom is already deeply rooted in our lives to put an end to it without further justification.However, do we know how this change of time affects our body? We will tell you what the science says about it.
How this change of time affects our body
According to experts, our body does not adapt very well to time changes. Our circadian rhythm is disrupted when we "lose" or "win" an hour. So that can occur a series of negative effects.These changes in the circadian rhythm occur mainly when we are traveling to another time zone, but we could consider that a time change is equivalent to moving to a time zone in the east (when we move forward by one hour) or to the west (when we delay it).
It has nevertheless been discovered that our circadian rhythm is also modified by other factors, such as going to bed late at weekends. or the lack of a regular sleep cycle. Therefore, although we may perceive the effect of changing the time, it is not an isolated problem.
Some ofmost striking consequences of the time change in our body are the following :
- Higher probability of traffic accidents.
- Increased number of heart attacks.
- More cases of depression.
Let's see each of them.
1- Higher probability of traffic accidents
One of the most surprising time-shift studies was John Hopkins' 1999 study at Stanford University. She demonstrated thatthe probability of a traffic accident increases by 5% on the Monday following the time change.
Another study funded bythe University of Colorado later found that these results were even more disturbing, with an increase of up to 17%. Although the time seems not to be related to accidents, the data does not lie. But why does this increase occur?
The increase in traffic accidents after a time change could be explained by a hormone called melatonin.She is responsible for regulating sleep cycles. This is one of the main reasons why we do not feel alerts in the morning. A sudden change in our sleep habits will make us feel a lot more tired and less attentive during the day.
2- Increase in the number of heart attacks
A 2012 study conducted by the University of Alabama suggested thatthe number of heart attacks increased within three days of the time change. Other studies also show a slight increase in the number of strokes.
What is the cause of these two phenomena? Apparently,losing one hour of sleep causes all kinds of problems in our body: increased cortisol, loss of effectiveness of the immune system and feeling of less energy.Although these problems are not dangerous for the general population, in the case of a person with a pre-existing risk of stroke, this may be the trigger for a heart attack or accident. cerebrovascular.
3- More cases of depression
Finally,some studies show that the time change could be related toseasonal depressive syndrome. This disorder has to do with the lack of exposure to sunlight, which can affect our physical and mental health.
The number of hours exposed to the sun can also be changed by changing the time.The effects of this change of time are also often confused with those of the increase in temperature.In any case, it is a change that we must adapt to.