Science Tuesday: Why Daylight Savings Never Comes at a Good Time

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

I woke up this morning and the light was streaming in earlier than usual, the birds were chirping and the crisp air reminded me that fall was upon us… and then it became 4 p.m. and it got dark. ‘Wait, what?’ Oh yeah, it’s that time of year again folks where the days are shorter, because in New England, that just means that you’ll be freezing longer and the sun will wake you up earlier.

Oh, Daylight Savings, you kind of make me sick.

Now, before you think I’m the most depressing person on the planet, I’ll be missing the sun a little more than everyone else here. I’ll give you some reasons why the end of Daylight Savings Time affects all of us more than just changing our alarm clocks.

While sleeping in a little later sounds awesome for one day, giving you an extra hour of sleep, the end of Daylight Savings Time can actually screw up your biological clock.

Our Circadian rhythms are changes in our physical and mental behavior that follow a 24-hour cycle. It typically responds to light and darkness in our environment, so you can see how Daylight Savings Time can affect us biologically too because we can never truly adjust to the time change.

It’s okay to be offended, but don’t take it too much to heart — but some people actually do. With a loss of sleep, a disturbed biological clock and a weakened immune system can hurt us a little, but for those who have a heart condition, this combination can result in heart attacks.

Crazy, huh? I know, but just so you don’t think I’m making this up, I’ll throw in some actual stats that might make you a believer.

According to a cardiovascular researcher at the University of Alabama, the Monday and Tuesday after the time change is on average associated with a 10 percent increase in heart attack cases, so I guess you could say that Daylight Savings isn’t for the faint of heart.

And even if you’ve never had a heart condition, with the change in sleep, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, there is an increase in workplace injuries over a 23-year period where there was about 3.6 more injuries than usual on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time.

As for the never-ending midterms, researchers at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business discovered that when our sleeping patterns are altered, it affects our performance too. So, all that time trying to understand supply and demand on a global scale can all be blamed on Daylight Savings.

According to researchers at Penn State, about 20 percent of the time that was assigned to do a task wasn’t used productively when participants ha disruptions in their sleeping patterns.

I guess when it comes to the change of Daylight Savings, it’s not helping us very much. You can thank good ol’ Ben Franklin for that, who came up with the concept to use the most of daylight hours, which in theory is great, but when I wake up at 6 a.m. because the light is shining through the windows, no amount of happy chirping birds are going to stop me from seconding my soul sister, Winnie Sanderson:

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