‘It’s like dosing the entire population with an hour of permanent jet lag,’ Experts weigh in on DST

SEATTLE — If you are thinking the gloomy weather was the main reason so many people were tired…..think again. Daylight Saving Time knocked off one hour of sleep Saturday night. And many people in the area would argue how essential an extra hour can be.

“Especially when I am working like night shift or off shift and having to try and sleep during the day in those. It’s rough,” Bergin Smith, a nurse in the area, said.

Sleep physicians like Dr. Nate Watson from Harborview Medical Center say it can really take a toll on people.

“When we go to daylight saving time, it’s like dosing the entire population with an hour of permanent jet lag. And we know that this has consequences for our health,” Dr. Watson said.

And he says that the sleep we lose never comes back.

“And we know that people sleep on average 40 minutes less after daylight savings. And that affects us for a couple of weeks. Now some people might say ‘oh, but we sleep more when we fall back.’ But that’s not the case. There is no evidence that people use that extra hour in the fall to sleep more,” Dr. Watson said.

Not only does it take a toll on our sleep, but lack of sleep can really hurt people’s overall health.

“It increases heart attacks, strokes, mental health gets impaired, accidents. There is all kinds of untoward effects of that,” Dr. Watson said.

KIRO7 asked people in the streets of Seattle their thoughts on Daylight Saving Time. The answers we got were mixed.

“Uh, kind of neutral,” Smith said.

“I am used to it in the sense that I can deal with it! But I never liked it!” Coly from Bellevue said.

And like Dr. Watson, some believe Daylight Saving Time should be a thing of the past.

“I just don’t see any reason for it,” Coly said.

“Look, nobody wants to change clocks back and forth. Ok. I think we can all agree on that,” Dr. Watson said.

There have been efforts to either make Daylight Saving Time permanent. WA Senator Patty Murry is encouraging people to voice support for the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make DST permanent. This has support on both sides of the aisle, including FL Senator Marco Rubio, who recently reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act earlier this month.