Daylight Savings Time – It Sucks and It’s Bad for Your Health

Every second Sunday in March Americans turn their clocks forward an hour, losing an hours sleep and oh how we gripe and moan about it. For some of us this means we are waking up in the dark and coming home in the dark. It’s downright depressing, to tell the truth. There is good reason to complain, however, as there have been numerous studies done to show that, not only does this time change make us grumpy, it does nothing to promote productivity, it doesn’t save energy, and to top it all off, it looks like it’s downright dangerous for your health.

You might find it interesting to note that this whole cuckoo clock business was started during World War 1 as a means of decreasing energy use.

No one has ever seem to come to an agreement as to whether or not it actually does save energy but one thing is for sure; the negative effects of this twice a year clock hop hurt both our bodies and the economy.

A little food for thought here, doesn’t it seem as though we, as a society, have changed tremendously since World War 1? So why are we still following this outdated policy?

Daylight Saving Time

Photo credit: bigstock

Seriously, as if losing an hour sleep were not bad enough, it’s been proven that going up against that twice a year time change can actually be dangerous for your health. It doesn’t matter what the hands on that clock on your nightstand says, there is no bucking that internal body clock. Your internal clock sets itself according to the sun, releasing hormones at sunrise and sunset, which is why you are sleepy at night and wake with the rising sun. This is called circadian rhythm. What exactly does all this mean and how does it work?

  • Dr. Gari Clifford, a scientist who works at Emory University in Atlanta conducting sleep disorders, says he has done studies that show that trying to change your circadian rhythm can hurt your performance in both school and at work. A recent study showed that students who were forced to attend school at 730a.m., instead of 830am, performed worse than their colleges who started at 830am because they were fighting their natural circadian rhythm. In March of 2011, the president of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, observed that the stress due to the changing of the clocks was so intense that Russia has dumped the clock changing and stays on DST all year. Doesn’t it make sense to have everyone get up later, rather than earlier? Seriously, it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing that point.
  • Many Americans don’t get enough sleep as it is, what with trying to catch up on those late night episodes of The Walking Dead or Downtown Abbey, who has time to sleep? Seriously, though, many of us are already sleep deprived and cutting out one more hour may just make the problem worse.  The health effects of sleep deprivation are well documented but a recent study shows that the number of heart attacks increase 10 per cent the first three Mondays after the clock changes to daylight savings time.
  • Another recent study shows that those of us who are middle aged or older, along with wrinkles and pot bellies, who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 4 times more likely to have a stroke after moving those clocks forward. Find out why you should sleep.
  • Yet another study shows that both traffic and workplace accidents increase sharply during the first week in March after we change the time. It’s unknown if this is due to the sleepiness factor, the fact that there is less light when most people are on the road, or the rage factor, you know, the fact that we are pissed off because we are forced to go to work an hour earlier. Or could it be that we are just sleep deprived zombies driving with a 64 ounce of coffee in our hands?

Seriously, there are many other reasons to ditch daylight savings time. Perhaps the lunacy of daylight savings time was best said by an unknown Native American. When someone tried to explain to the old Native American man exactly why everyone was moving their clocks forward an hour he replied, “Only the white man’s government would be so stupid as to think that by cutting the foot off the bottom of a blanket and sewing it to the top of the blanket, they think they would have a longer blanket.”