Sidebar. The Effects of Daylight Saving Time
-Spring forward, fall back. Each year, 1.6 billion people change the time on their clocks to chase the sun during fall and winter months.9
-Benjamin Franklin is widely credited with inspiring daylight saving time when he mused, “Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable that he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”10
-William Willet, a builder walking the streets of London, took this one step further in 1907 when he wrote “The Waste of Daylight,” a manifesto on how no one was taking advantage of the early morning sun.10
-It was not until World Wars I and II when the need to conserve coal and energy spurred the United States and other countries to adopt light-saving measures. Because it was met with great resistance, an important compromise was reached. Clocks would be turned ahead 1 hour in the spring to give people ample opportunity to enjoy the sun. In the autumn, daylight saving time would end as clocks fell back 1 hour.
-While the concept of daylight saving seems to have allowed the optimization of industrial needs, changing clocks in the fall can take a toll on your mental health and may exacerbate mental health conditions. One study reviewed 185,419 hospital contacts following the transition to standard time. It found there was an 11% increase in the rate of unipolar depressive episodes, which dissipated over 10 weeks.9
-This time change can disrupt circadian rhythms, including the sleep-wake cycle. It can take some people weeks to get back to healthy sleep patterns. For most Americans, a 9am-to-5pm work schedule is standard, which means it is already dark when the workday is through. This can contribute to decreased sunlight exposure and an increase in sedentary lifestyles.
-To adjust to these time changes, health professionals suggest going to bed incrementally earlier in the weeks leading up to the time change. Sticking to a schedule, avoiding naps, and limiting caffeine and alcohol can help smooth out this transition.