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Spring is right around the corner—and so is daylight saving time. Is gaining evening sunshine worth losing an hour of sleep? These eye-opening facts can help you decide for yourself.
Who really came up with the idea?
The idea of daylight saving time (DST) has been attributed to everyone from founding father Benjamin Franklin to a 19th century entomologist who wanted more hours of sunshine to collect bugs. But the concept wasn't put into practice until WWI, when Germany used it to conserve fuel. The U.S. and other countries later followed suit.
More time for leisure
People often think DST was designed to give farmers more time to work their fields. In fact, agriculturalists have lobbied against the time change since 1918, saying it disrupts milking schedules and makes it hard to get crops to market. Thanks to the leisure habits of American consumers, the industries that benefit the most from DST are the makers and sellers of sports, recreation and barbecue equipment.
Saving energy (kind of)
In theory, an added hour of daylight cuts energy consumption by encouraging people to turn off elecric lights and spend sunny evenings outside. But if they instead choose to relax in front of the TV, DST actually increases energy usage. Latitude matters: evening light is more valuable in Montana and Maine than in states like Arizona and Hawaii, which don't follow DST at all because summer cooling costs outweigh savings on lighting.
Not everyone agrees
Although federal law mandates when DST starts (the second Sunday in March) and ends (the first Sunday in November), states don't have to make seasonal time changes. Taking into account research that suggests a relationship between disruptive time shifts and increases in heart attacks and traffic accidents, Florida, Washington, California and other states have considered making either standard time or DST permanent.
The impact of an hour
Switching in and out of daylight saving time can significantly disrupt your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Even a 60-minute change means that, starting this Sunday, there will be less light in the morning, when you need to wake up, and more light at night, when you should be falling asleep.
Tips for adjusting
Between now and Sunday, there are simple steps you can take to ease your adjustment to the time change. Remember to be patient: It can take up to a week to get your day-night cycle back in sync.
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. DST will hit you harder if you're already sleep-deprived.
- Soak in as much natural light as possible during waking hours and avoid being in bright light when it's dark outside.
- Move your bedtime up half an hour. Plan ahead so you have that last cup of coffee and log off your computer even earlier than usual.
Don't let daylight saving time affect your sleep. The experts at Mancini's Sleepworld can show you how to maximize your rest with a mattress that's perfect for your needs. Visit Sleepworld.com or call (800) 647-5337 to learn more.