Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

If daylight saving time ended, how would it affect us in Nevada?

Las Vegas Daily Life
John Locher
/
AP
People walk in front of The Venetian hotel-casino along the Las Vegas Strip, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Las Vegas.

Nevada switched from daylight saving to standard time in November. And like every year, people complain bitterly after it's done, because it really does a number on us. But what does it really do to us?

And it's a big question, because every few years in Nevada, some state lawmakers will pose the idea of keeping one clock all year round. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed the so-called Sunshine Protection Act that would have make daylight saving time permanent; that's on hold right now.

But if some time does become permanent, which one should it be, and which is better for our health? State of Nevada producer Christopher Alvarez recently spoke with Dr. Tara Rachakonda of the Sleep Center of Nevada, about how time changes can impact our health.

Sleep loss can be detrimental to some people.

“There actually have also been studies showing that there is an increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes, as well as arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation, that can occur in the week following that switch in the springtime,” she said.

A CBS News poll earlier this year found 46% of Americans prefer daylight saving time, compared to 33% who prefer standard time.

The retail industry specifically has a large role in daylight saving time. Rachakonda said the extra sunshine comes at the cost of dark mornings.

“Historically, during the Nixon administration, when the United States supported Israel during the one of the Arab Israeli wars, OPEC issued an embargo on us. And in order to try to reduce energy, there was actually a temporary move to permanent daylight savings time. It was actually supposed to last until 1975. And when it first started out, it was very popular … However, it became increasingly unpopular because of the morning darkness. And there actually was an increase in accidents involving children,” she explained.

Norman Frey is an alfalfa farmer with Rambling River Ranches in Fallon. He rejected the notion that daylight saving time exists for farmers.

“We follow a clock where the crops that we raise and the animals we raise, they run our life and they don’t tell time; cows don’t tell time. That’s a surprise to most people.”

The availability of daylight also affects mental health, as many of us are familiar.

“I noticed that my mood is a lot more somber in the wintertime. It's possibly related. … I relate it to fewer daylight hours. I like the daylight. I have trained myself to work when I need to work and rest when I need to rest. And sometimes the rest side of it is a little bit more difficult than the work side,” Frey said.

“I think no matter what we do, we should stay consistent, because changes really wreak havoc on our bodies,” Rachakonda said. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, of which she’s a member, supports sticking to standard time, as they think the body’s natural circadian rhythm is more aligned with it.

Though, places like Las Vegas prove to challenge any future action. The city has one of the highest rates in the world of night shift workers.

“There have been health impacts in shift workers,” Rachakonda said. “Including possibly increased rates of cancer. I think the best thing is no matter where your rhythm lies … it's important to maintain consistency in your sleep habits.”

What do you think about ending daylight saving time? Send us your thoughts: son@knpr.org.


READ MORE


Guests: Dr. Tara Rachakonda, medical director, Sleep Center of Nevada; Norman Frey, farmer, Rambling River Ranches

Stay Connected
Christopher Alvarez is a news producer and podcast audio editor at Nevada Public Radio for the State of Nevada program, and has been with them for over a year.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She oversees and writes State of Nevada’s online and social media content.