UW Medicine: Daylight Saving Time is bad for your health

We're just days away from "falling back" this Sunday, and an expert with the University of Washington says no Daylight Saving Time is better for our health.

Dr. Nathaniel Watson, a professor of neurology and co-founder of the UW Medicine Sleep Center, says Standard Time is healthier on the human body.

"There are three clocks that we have: We have a body clock, we have a sun clock and we have a social clock. Our health is optimized when our body clock is aligned with the sun clock, and that's most aligned when we're on Standard Time," said Watson.

Few people get excited about losing an hour of sleep when the country "springs forward" in March.

"When we go to daylight saving time, it's like dosing the entire population with an hour of permanent jet lag, and we know this has untoward consequences for health," explained Watson, "when we spring forward—increased heart attacks, strokes, mental health gets impaired, accidents."

The most obvious benefit of Standard Time, which occurs Sunday, is everyone gets an extra hour of sleep.

"Nobody wants to change clocks back and forth," said Watson, "I think we can all agree on that."

He argues that often gets conflated with moving to permanent Daylight Saving Time—a move that many states in the U.S., including Washington, have chewed on. Watson says that is not good enough.

"The reality is that permanent Standard Time is the more natural way to go about our lives," said Watson. "We live in a society where the [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] says sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic. About a third of our population is not getting the seven or eight hours of sleep that we need to support optimal health."

Dr. Watson says people should do their best to catch up on sleep this Sunday.