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Fall Back? Spring Ahead? How About Neither, Experts Say.

Proponents also argue that lighter evenings would lead to safer roads for pedestrians. And permanent daylight saving time in general would mean fewer fatal car crashes.

“Darkness kills; sunshine saves,” said Steve Calandrillo, a law professor at the University of Washington who has conducted economic research into daylight saving time. He said that the evening rush hour is already dangerous: The roads are crowded, drivers are tired after work and they are more likely to have alcohol in their systems.

But dark roads are only one factor in car safety.

Several coalitions of scientists, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, on the other hand, argue that standard time (with its brighter mornings) is more naturally aligned with the progression of the sun, and therefore with the body’s natural clock. However the studies in favor of this argument similarly do not prove cause and effect.

Scientists say that a permanent switch to daylight saving time might throw people’s circadian rhythms out of whack, leading to unintended health consequences.

Bright mornings help people wake up and stay alert; dark nights allow for the production of melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleep. When it’s too light at night, it can be hard to fall asleep. When it’s too dark in the morning, it can be hard to wake up. Together, both circumstances could lead to sleep deprivation.

One 2019 study, which looked at how light affects people at opposite ends of a single time zone, found that an extra hour of natural light in the evening led to an average of 19 fewer minutes of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a range of health conditions, like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

This “mismatch” between your internal clock and environmental cues, said Dr. Anita Shelgikar, an associate professor of neurology and director of the sleep medicine fellowship program at the University of Michigan, can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

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