Daylight Savings Time has officially begun in the U.S. While some residents welcome more sunshine in the afternoon, others question the reasoning as to why the bi-annual practice is carried on today.

President Donald Trump even recently stated that he would rather maintain a regular consistent time, rather than moving clocks back and forth twice a year.

Many statistics show a correlation between losing one hour of sleep during Daylight Savings Time and many negative side effects.

Not enough sleep:

One of the primary complaints that people have about Daylight Savings Time is that losing the hour throws off their sleep schedule. While it may sound minor to lose one hour of sleep, experts say that there can be dangerous side effects.

Dr. Dominic Gaziano spoke with the Beauregard Daily News and Leesville Daily Leader. He is a practicing General Internal Medicine physician in Chicago and BBC World recognized wellness practitioner.

He completed his medical research fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“The biggest concern is for those who must be alert for their jobs including truck drivers, those who operate machinery, and others,” Gaziano said.  “They need to be extra careful and aware of this change, as dozing off in a job like this could be catastrophic.”

A study by researchers at Stanford University found that there were more accidents on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins.

The research compiled two decades worth of national driving statistics.

The article by R.P. Allen and J. Varughese  said “the behavioral adaptation anticipating the longer day on Sunday of the shift from DST in the fall leads to an increased number of accidents suggesting an increase in late night (early Sunday morning) driving when traffic-related fatalities are high possibly related to alcohol consumption and driving while sleepy.”

The study also suggested that negative health effects “come not only from physiological adjustments but also from behavioral responses to forced circadian changes.”

Dr. Gaziano also speaks about other physical and mental health issues that can result from the disruption. He noted that there are global statistics that suggest the time change increases the likelihood of certain medical issues.

“One 2014 study showed that the Monday after daylight savings time there’s a 24% increased risk of heart attack compared to other Mondays. Another Finnish study shows that an increased risk of stroke exists in the following two days after the fall and spring time change.” Gaziano said

Mental health is also impacted by the time change. Gaziano stated that often times people with preexisting mental health issues often are not prepared for the time change, and it impacts them negatively.

He specifically stated that patients suffering from anxiety and depression worsen their condition when they do not get adequate amounts of sleep.

“Sleep is vital for those with anxiety and depression, as well as all of us to combat our daily stresses,” he said. “It takes energy and focus to combat anxiety and depression.  Especially when anxiety is severe and patients are not functioning well, they have to focus every hour of everyday recovery to better function and enroll support.”

“If your schedule is thrown off, you can experience changes in appetite, which can lead to overeating among other things,” Gaziano said.  “Be careful that your appetite doesn’t spring forward with the clocks. Make an effort to eat a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning to get your body going and keep your appetite in check.”

The upside to springing forward:

While Daylight Savings Time has its fair share of detractors. Many residents have stated that they enjoy longer days and more sunshine.

Dr. Gaziano noted that while the adjustment to the shift is difficult, Daylight Savings Time can be beneficial.

“The positives generally come after the period of adjustment,” He said. “In the beginning, it is more difficult to get on a new sleep schedule, can create sleep deprivation, lack of focus at work and in life, among other things.”

In terms of medical positives, I think daylight savings time is beneficial for our mental and physical health but  those in the healthcare community should prepare for it perhaps two weeks in advance to prevent these mental and physical changes from having poor health effects for those who are most vulnerable, namely those with existing mental health disorders and those with cardiovascular conditions.

Dr. Gaziano gave the following tips when it comes to adjusting to the time change:

In the fall, you don’t need to change your sleep schedule.  In the spring however, 2 to 3 days prior to Daylight Savings, go to bed about 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night.  This helps your body adjusts slowly. If this is too complicated just go to bed an hour earlier the night before the time change. It’s a similar strategy to that of parents who try to get their children back on a proper sleep schedule before school starts again after sleeping in all summer

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine that may affect your ability to fall asleep earlier and these substances make it hard

Of course, having good sleep habits in place already will make the change easier. Not having as much screen time, and leaving time to relax and decompress in the evening as well will help the transition

Where did it come from, and why do we do it?

There have been examples of civilizations attempting to adjust how they measure time dating back to ancient Egypt.

This has led to many misconceptions as to how Daylight Savings Time. Modern Daylight Savings Time, as we know it, was first invented in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson.

As an entomologist, Hudson studied bugs and wanted more daylight to gather insects. Hudson would write two papers on the subject, but Daylight Savings Time would not be enacted in New Zealand until the Summer Time Act of 1927.

That year, Hudson was the first recipient of the T.K. Sidney Medal in honor of the passing of the act.

During World War I, Daylight Savings Time was used by Germany, Austria, and other European countries in an effort to conserve fuel and energy.

It became increasingly popular in the United Kingdom and remained so for years to come. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill once stated that Daylight Savings time "enlarges the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country."

Churchill grew up during the time that Daylight Savings time became popular in the United Kingdom and supported it during his time in office.

However, America didn’t respond to Daylight Savings Time so fondly. When it was brought into the U.S. in 1918 it was largely unpopular among the majority of citizens and was repealed that next year in 1919.

It would not return until President Roosevelt instituted “wartime” from 1942 to 1945. There would be no federal law mandating Daylight Savings Time for over 20 years after that.

During the time where it was not federally mandated, Daylight Savings time was decided on the state and regional level as to whether or not it was necessary.

America’s complicated relationship with Daylight Savings Time continues to this day. Contrary to popular belief, there is currently no federal law mandating Daylight Savings Time.

Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states in the U.S. that don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time. Although those are the only two states to repeal Daylight Savings Time, more states are following suit.

Recently California residents voted for Proposition 7, which seeks to repeal Daylight Savings Time. 60 percent of residents voted in favor of the proposition. It has yet to be officially signed by the Governor.

What locals are saying:

Locally, many residents in Beauregard and Vernon Parish have expressed their thoughts on the clock turning tradition. It seems that there is somewhat of a consensus that time should be kept at one constant throughout the year.

Many residents sounded off on Facebook and voted in our official poll. As of this writing, 81 percent of the votes were in favor of doing away with

Dolly Weldon didn’t express a preference in which time to run with, but she did say “I don’t care which one it is, just pick one and stick to it.”

Pat White questioned why it was ever started to begin with. He said “Why is it that we have to fool with this. There is enough to deal with other that unnecessary things like this.”

Neelum Purba expressed that her fatigue has carried on throughout the week. She said “Somehow I am more tired this morning [Tuesday] than I was on Sunday or Monday. I am already worried about how bad tomorrow will be. I wish they would just leave the times alone.”

Conversely, Rebecca McPee expressed how much she loves springing forward and stated that she has never had problems with it. She said “I love it and have never noticed any problems with adjusting to it. I really wish it could be set at this time all year because I want/need more daylight at the end of the day rather than the beginning.”

Wayne A. Maggart noted that he, like many others, struggles with the adjustment to the time change. He said, “I wish they would keep it on one time because it’s it hard for me to adjust at first.”

Some prefer more light in the evenings, others like the opposite. Despite this, it seems like many people are tired of being tired during this time of year.