Daylight Saving Time (DST) — and yes, it’s saving not savings — officially begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November when we turn our clocks back at 2:00 a.m. local time to read 1:00 a.m. Most of us learned the phrase, “spring forward, fall back” to remind us of which way to adjust the clocks. Changing watches and clocks is a small chore. Changing our own internal clocks is trickier.
A cluster of brain cells located in the hypothalamus acts as the timekeeper for our bodies. The neural ticker, also called our circadian rhythm, tells our bodies when to eat, sleep, wake up, and perform many other functions over the course of a day.
Light is what cues our internal clocks. Sunrise directs our bodies to release wake up hormones which boost metabolism, blood pressure, and body temperature. Sunset tells our bodies it's time to wind down and sleep.
So this week our heads and bodies are in for a spin as we adjust to the clocks shifting forward. Be creative and avoid a shock to your system. Adjust your bedtime and wake up time over several days so you get your normal hours of sleep each night. Make the time change for breakfast, lunch, and dinner gradual. Walk into the sunlight as soon as possible in the early morning.
Here are two statistics to motivate us:
Researchers reported in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, that heart attacks increased 24 percent on the first Monday following the "spring forward" switch to Daylight Saving Time, compared with the daily number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
According to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, our pets and livestock suffer with the time change. Since we set the routines for them, their body clocks are disrupted when we feed them an hour late or come to milk them later than usual.
DST is an attempt to regulate the sunlight hours. The goal — to use daylight to its maximum advantage — is controversial. Is it worth it? There’s no definitive answer.
Proponents have proclaimed DST's benefits, including: saving energy, reducing automobile accidents, providing more daylight for outdoor activities, and cutting crime. But DST also has many detractors — from farmers to parents of schoolchildren — who have waged contentious battles against it. Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which any place could choose to observe DST or not. This created chaos. For instance, if you took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, you would pass through no fewer than seven time changes.
Only Congress can legislate changes to the Uniform Time Act. So for now, we will set our clocks back an hour as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end for the year.
Until we are once again graced by the long days of spring sunlight, I look forward to enjoying the evening glow of candlelight. Join me?
Sources: https://www.livescience.com, timeanddate.com