Estimating the Effects of Daylight Saving Clock Changes on Cardiovascular Outcomes and Depressive Symptoms in the UK Biobank
Approved Research ID: 86626
Approval date: August 9th 2022
The main aim of this research is to estimate the effects of DST clock changes on incidents of cardiovascular disease and depression in the UK. Within this we will explore the effect of the clock changes on sleep, as well as the effect of sleep on cardiovascular disease and depressive symptoms. We will also examine whether the clock changes are associated with any other characteristics in UK Biobank participants.
Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of moving clocks one hour forward in the spring and one hour back in the autumn. It was introduced during World War 1 as a way of reducing energy use. DST is now in operation in 70 countries, including the UK, and affects a quarter of the world's population. However, there is growing evidence that DST clock changes may have adverse effects on population health. This is likely to be due to sleep deprivation and circadian disruption. Studies conducted outside the UK have reported increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes and depressive episodes in the weeks after the clock changes. This research has prompted countries to reconsider their use of DST and the EU voted to end its use after 2021. However, as the UK has now left the EU it is unclear whether DST will be abolished in the UK.
The project will take 3 years.
Public Health Impact:
The evidence will then be used to formulate policy recommendations as to whether the UK should abolish DST clock changes. More widely, the research will improve our understanding of how sleep and circadian rhythms affect physical and mental health.