Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Time to set those clocks back


Remember to set your clocks back an hour as Nov. 5 marks the end of daylight saving time. This means everyone will get one extra hour of sleep, gaining an hour of sun in the morning but losing one during the night.

The history

Daylight saving time first stemmed from George Hudson who was an entomologist in New Zealand in 1895. He proposed a two-hour time shift for more hours of sunshine after work. He suggested clocks move two hours ahead in October and two hours back in March, according to National Geographic.

Later in 1907 William Willett wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight” where he proposed the idea of having daylight saving time in the United Kingdom.

He had the idea of setting clocks 20 minutes ahead for four Sundays in a row in April and 20 minutes behind in September to help people and animals adjust.

“Everyone appreciates the long light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as autumn approaches, and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the clear bright light of early morning during spring and summer months, is so seldom seen or used,” part of his pamphlet read.

He wanted to encourage people to get out of bed earlier during the summer.

In 1908, the daylight saving bill was the first attempt in the UK to move clocks forward one hour in the summer. The idea was to provide more daylight hours after work for training of the Territorial Army, to reduce railway accidents, and to reduce lighting expenses, according to National Museums Scotland.

The House of Commons rejected the bill but later it was brought up in 1916 by Germany during World War I to conserve energy.

Germany ratified a daylight saving time bill that was followed by Britain’s creation of the Summertime Act.

In 1918, the United States adopted the Standard Time Act which established that standard time in the U.S. be divided into five time zones. It also stipulated that on the last Sunday of March each year, clocks be advanced one hour and then returned one hour on the last Sunday of October in an effort to save fuel.

The Standard Time Act was repealed in 1920 after dairy farmers voiced their concerns on how the time change affected their cows.

DST returned when the U.S. entered World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Another bill was passed in Congress in 1986 that increased the time period of DST by moving the start of it to the first Sunday in April with the goal to conserve oil.

The current DST was established through the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that went into effect in 2007 calling for clocks to be set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March.

Under the Uniform Time Act, as amended, states may exempt themselves from observing daylight saving time by state law. Daylight saving time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Senate Bill 582, known as the Sunshine Protection Act, passed the U.S. Senate in 2022 and would permanently extend DST from its current eight-month period to the entire twelve months of each year, eliminating the need to change time. Permanent DST would mean darker mornings and lighter nights.

The bill was first introduced by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in 2021, and still needs to pass the U.S. House of Representatives. For now, the time change remains the same.

The effects

Harvard Health found that many people may have trouble adjusting their sleep schedule to the new time. For the first few days or even a week, they may go to bed later or wake up earlier than usual, which can cause sleep deprivation. One study found that the average person gets 40 minutes less sleep on the Monday after DST begins compared with other nights of the year.

A study by UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that oftentimes people feel more anxious, down and depressed due to it becoming darker quicker in the fall. The study shows that people are getting less sun exposure. They are taking in less vitamin D which directly impacts one’s mood.

Low vitamin D can also make someone feel more fatigued as well as have muscle pain and weakened bones.

“Lack of sunlight suppresses the production of two important hormones: sleep-inducing melatonin and the "happy chemical" serotonin, which plays a key role in mood balance. In other words, we're more likely to be grumpy and tired — but unable to fall asleep — in the days following daylight saving time,” according to UT Southwestern Medical Center.

One study showed that hospitals reported addressing 11% more depressive symptoms right after the fall time change.

How to prepare

When it comes to sleep, you need to stick to a consistent schedule and go to bed around the same time. It is important not to go to bed later because you are getting an hour of extra sleep. Keeping a consistent sleep-wake pattern is best for your body.

Since there will be less daylight, it is important to take advantage of the time you have to be outside and to try and soak in as much sunlight as possible to boost vitamin D.

Set your clocks back the night before so when you wake up, you are up at the adjusted time so the change will feel more natural to your body.