Living On The Western Edge Of The Time Zone Can Have Negative Health Effects

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Living On The Western Edge Of The Time Zone Can Have Negative Health Effects
Living On The Western Edge Of The Time Zone Can Have Negative Health Effects

Video: Living On The Western Edge Of The Time Zone Can Have Negative Health Effects

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Living on the western edge of the time zone can have negative health effects

It turned out that people living in the geographic region of the time zone with a later sunset went to bed, on average, 19 minutes later. This translates into approximately 115 hours of lost sleep per year. The problem is that it is usually impossible to make up for a lack of sleep, because the time zone is set at the same time by which it is necessary to come to work and school.

Living on the western edge of the time zone can have negative health effects
Living on the western edge of the time zone can have negative health effects

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Living on the western edge of the time zone can have negative health and wallet effects, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Italian Switzerland published in the Journal of Health Economics. The culprit turned out to be natural light in the evening hours.

Sunset is a powerful biological trigger: the extinction of natural light causes the body to release melatonin (a hormone that causes drowsiness). Moving westward, the sun sets later; within the time zone, the difference at the western and eastern borders is one hour. As a result, people on the eastern side of the time zone tend to go to bed earlier.

Lack of sleep is known to be a risk factor for health problems. Even daylight savings time is associated with a higher incidence of myocardial infarction, and the incidence of breast cancer is higher among women who work in shifts. Irregular work hours disrupt the circadian rhythms that your body clock dictates.

Researchers analyzed data from about 1 million users of the Jawbone sleep tracker from the American Time Use Survey. To find out how changes in sleep can affect a person's physical and economic well-being, scientists have conducted several tests.

It turned out that people living in the geographic region of the time zone with a later sunset went to bed, on average, 19 minutes later. This translates into approximately 115 hours of lost sleep per year. The problem is that it is usually not possible to make up for a lack of sleep, because the time zone is set at the same time by which it is necessary to arrive at work and school.

“People on the late sunset side of the time zone boundary are more likely to sleep deprived, more often sleep less than 6 hours and less often sleep at least 8 hours. The impact is higher among people with early work schedules and among people with school-aged children,”write study authors Osea Giuntella and Fabrizio Mazzonna.

Given the importance of sleep for good physical and mental health, it is not surprising that we are more likely to encounter health problems in the very places where the sun sets later. So, on the western border of all time zones, the chances of being overweight are on average 11 percent higher, obesity is 21 percent higher. Diabetes is more common, with the risk of myocardial infarction increased by 19 percent and breast cancer by about 5 percent.

The authors also found economic differences, as lack of sleep negatively affects productivity - wages were typically 3 percent lower.

However, the researchers note that in terms of pleasure, an additional hour of rest in daylight can at least partially compensate for the lack of sleep: "People can get more benefit from enjoying an evening with more natural light."

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