It's time to turn your clocks forward for an annual rite that more and more experts say doesn't make any sense at all.
It’s a jarring change for anyone: the move to “fall back” at the end of daylight savings time by setting our clocks an hour earlier, resulting in darkness falling a full hour earlier when the days were already getting shorter. And experts say there’s not a whole lot of sense to the practice.
Daylight savings time happened in the wee hours of Sunday, Nov. 6, and it will mean a much different commute for most of us starting Nov. 7. There’s all sorts of negatives, including making us feel groggier during the day. And despite popular misconception, resetting clocks wasn’t done for the sake of farmers, who work according to the sun no matter what their clocks say.
DST just changes what time it is when the sun rises and sets, and there is no evidence that it results in any energy savings. In fact, it may actually result in an increase in energy use. And overall, it’s just a bad deal for human bodies, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It can take about one week for the body to adjust the new times for sleeping, eating, and activity (Harrision, 2013),” the CDC said in a blog post earlier this year. “Until they have adjusted, people can have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at the right time. This can lead to sleep deprivation and reduction in performance, increasing the risk for mistakes including vehicle crashes. Workers can experience somewhat higher risks to both their health and safety after the time changes (Harrison, 2013). A study by Kirchberger and colleagues (2015) reported men and persons with heart disease may be at higher risk for a heart attack during the week after the time changes in the Spring and Fall.
“The reason for these problems is thought to be disruption to circadian rhythms and sleep. Circadian rhythms are daily cycles of numerous hormones and other body functions that prepare us for the expected times for sleeping, eating, and activity. Circadian rhythms have difficulty adjusting to an abrupt one hour time change.”
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