Daylight Draining Time

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Last week, friends told me about how much they were looking forward to the end of daylight saving time, mainly because they wanted that extra hour of sleep. This got me thinking: is daylight saving time that great anyway? While many of us certainly appreciate daylight at seven in the evening during daylight saving time, or sunrise being pushed forward an hour after daylight saving, these benefits are outweighed by the drawbacks.

Problem is that our bodies do not adjust during time changes. Daylight saving is similar to jet lag. Changes to and from daylight saving confuse our bodies. This means that, when we set our clocks forward, it is equivalent to switching to Nova Scotia’s time zone (one hour ahead of Carlisle’s time zone). When we set our clocks backward, it is equivalent to switching to Chicago’s time zone (one hour behind Carlisle). Many people are not crazy about switching an hour for traveling between time zones. Why are we so enthusiastic about switching an hour at the beginning or end of daylight saving time? I certainly do not have the answer to that question.

It should not be a surprise that our bodies dislike time change, because scientific studies show that the adjustment to daylight saving time could be linked to increased heart attacks. According to The American Journal of Cardiology, hospital visits due to cardiovascular problems were higher in the week after shifting times on the clock than in the following weeks. Coincidentally, hospital visits for cardiovascular problems were highest on the Sunday that the clocks were adjusted. The journal concedes that such shifts are only modest (hence why the author still indicates a level of uncertainty when trying to answer the question of whether daylight saving causes heart attacks), but even a modest shift should be an indicator that daylight saving time is not at all beneficial to the body.

It may not be clear right now that there are major problems with daylight saving time, but feelings about it will be different in the spring because we “lose an hour of sleep.” As grumpy as I may be about daylight saving time, it will take more than individual voices to end these useless time changes. It will take lobbying. This was a practice that began because lobbies advocated for it . Likewise, this is a practice that will only end if there is a lobby powerful enough to carry this cause through.