According to study chief Dr. Beth Ann Malow professor of Neurology and Pediatrics in the Sleep Disorders Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center “People think the one-hour transition is no big deal, that they can get over this in a day, but what they don’t realize is their biological clock is out of sync.”
The study theorizes that morning light is essential for the synchronization of our biological clocks. If you do not get enough, it is associated with increased risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke.
According to researchers these disruptions can literally change the structure of the core genes within our circadian clocks. Additionally, lack of bright morning light has been linked to partial sleep deprivation.
In addition, daylight savings time causes between 15-20 minutes of lost sleep per adult adding an unknown number of accidents to the list of internal medical problems.
Dr. Malow continued: “It’s not one hour twice a year. It’s a misalignment of our biologic clocks for eight months of the year. When we talk about DST and the relationship to light, we are talking about profound impacts on the biological clock, which is a structure rooted in the brain. It impacts brain functions such as energy levels and alertness.”
The broken sleep patterns may also have an outsized effect on children with autism who cannot easily adjust to the time change.
A more extensive review can be found in the scientific journal JAMA Neurology.