Does Daylight Saving Time actually hurt your health?
Daylight Saving Time happens every year, but its effects could be keeping students from the classroom and preventing the body from properly functioning.
Professor of health science Pamela Hobbs said she has observed changes in the classroom due to Daylight Saving Time, or DST, issues.
“I have seen a few more absences this week after DST,” Hobbs said. “I have always contributed this to 'spring fever' more than DST. However, it could be a mixture of both.”
Various students across Lee University’s campus said they have also experienced challenges with falling asleep long after DST has gone into effect—especially athletes.
Freshman psychology major Ben Tabor, a member of both the track and field and cross country teams, said the effects DST has had on his sleep cycle have not only affected his performance in the classroom but also on the track.
“Daylight savings made me late for my first class because I was unaware of the time change,” Tabor said. “I also had a race the Saturday following DST, and it didn’t go well due to lack of rest I got throughout the week.”
DST began in Germany after World War I as an effort to save energy. The United States implemented the system during World War II again, but afterward, the federal government gave authority to the states to decide whether they wanted to observe it.
The wide spread confusion and discrepancies across the nation led to the Uniform Time Act of 1966. This legislation established a uniform start and end date but still allowed states to make the choice about whether to conform or not.
DST as it is known today was signed into law in 2005 with the Energy Policy Act, which stated that all clocks will be moved forward on the second Sunday in March and will fall back on the first Sunday in November.
According to Live Science, the clock change is set for 2 a.m. in hopes that the hour will go unnoticed because most stores are closed and most people are asleep.
Some Americans grew up with the notion that DST was established to aid farmers, but the Washington Post reported that daylight saving actually makes their job more difficult because they lose an hour of morning light.
How exactly does Daylight Saving Time affects not only the United States, but also the 70 other countries that observe it?
Besides the obvious disruption in sleep cycles, Popular Science reporter Sarah Chodosh notes that DST increases the fatal car crash rate in the U.S. by 5.4 to 7.6% for an entire six days after the initial time transition and causes an increase in heart attacks.
“Disrupting your sleep cycle upsets your autonomic nervous system. You make slightly more pro-inflammatory molecules and you’re more stressed overall,” Chodosh said in her article on why DST should be abolished. “This all adds up to a 24% increase in heart attacks on the Monday after DST goes into effect. One study also found that the fall change, in which we get an hour more of sleep, produced a 21% decrease in heart attacks on the Tuesday after.”
While many think that DST does more harm than good, some still benefit from losing an hour in the spring. DST increases the amount of time Americans spend outside while decreasing the amount of time indoors, especially watching television.
After the shift, according to Chodish, American citizens cut back on sitting in front of a television by almost ten minutes and spend almost an hour outside recreationally.
For more information about Daylight Saving Time, and a list of facts with statistics visit https://www.popsci.com/daylight-saving-time-effects-accidents-health#page-3.