Oh, spring. How everyone loves you. There’s something about spring that makes life just a little sweeter than during the cold, dark days of winter. I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to the time of the year when it’s still light out till late at night. In fact, it’s been a little more than a month since the Europeans put the clock one hour forward. Even though I’ve been loving that it’s still light out after 8 PM, I also noticed that I’m more tired than usual. As research suggests, this might actually be a result of daylight saving time.
It was George Hudson from New-Zealand who invented the concept of daylight saving time in 1895, but Britishman William Willet came up with the same idea independently of Hudson approximately a decade later. In his book ‘The Waste of Daylight’, Willet argued to implement this concept in Britain in order to make more efficient use of the natural light during the day, thereby saving costs on electricity. Since World War I, many countries have one by one decided to implement daylight saving time. However, states did not consider the implications of shifting time for the well-being of their citizens. Namely, a study showed that daylight saving time messes with your internal clock. This makes it harder to fall asleep and wake up at the right time, which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish during the day.
Bad health implications might be outweighed by a considerable saving on energy costs as a result of daylight saving time. However, many studies have indicated that day light saving time actually does the opposite: instead of saving the state money, it actually costs money. In fact, the estimated costs range between 433 million and 1.7 billion dollars annually. Thus, daylight saving time actually has the opposite effect of what states hoped it would be.
Due to the negative health implications and the annual costs, there have been many plans to abandon daylight saving time. In fact, many States in the US as well as European countries are discussing opting out of shifting their clock twice a year. Arizona and Hawaii have already put this plan into motion many years ago. However, for now we can only try to adjust our internal clock as smoothly as possible to summer time. As hard as it may seem, trying to avoid long naps during the day will help you sleep better at night. Also, habits like swapping wine for tea, meditating, and not looking at screens after dinner can all help you adjust to time swifts. It might be worth it to give one of these options a try. Maybe, you’ll end up sleeping better and pick up a few good habits along the way.