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How Daylight Saving Time Is Out of Sync With Nature
Tonight is the night when we all need to reset our mechanical clocks and watches to “spring forward” one hour for Daylight Saving Time. I say "mechanical" clocks because our cell phone and computer clocks will all reset automatically.
But I don’t think this is a good idea.
What I don’t like about it is that it takes us off the natural order of time. It’s a man-made convention.
To make matters worse, this past week a group of bipartisan senators reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act that would make “enjoying Daylight Savings Time” a year-round occurrence. The bill has already passed on the state level in Florida (2018) California (2018) and Washington (2019) but requires change at the federal level to go into effect.
The history of Daylight Saving Time seems to be related to saving energy by giving more daylight in the evening. But the benefits vary both by location and by profession. Some places are too hot, some types of work, like farming, prefer more light in the morning hours when they are milking cows and harvesting crops.
For me, the problem with Daylight Saving Time is that it pulls us off of the natural order of time. Nature establishes the time of day by the sun. If you put a sick in the ground or look at a sundial, you will see that the shadow of the sun is directly overhead (the photo below was taken at 1:00), and as the sun moves, so too will the shadow.
Sundials established time for millennia before there were mechanical or digital timepieces, and our bodies and all of Nature live by the time of the sun.
Our bodies' circadian rhythm is regulated by sunlight, and daylight saving time throws off people's sleep schedules. If we know it's evening but still see light outside, our bodies won't release key hormones that help us fall asleep when we regularly do. These disruptions to sleep affect our health in both large and small ways.
Some of the known negative side effects of Daylight Saving Time sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm changes are;
- it affects your focus and reaction times, leading to more car and workplace accidents in the days after the switch.
- it negatively impacts the academic performance of school-age children, with lower test scores the week following the time shift
- it can affect your health—the time switch has been linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, and weaken the immune system.
All in all, Daylight Saving Time is an arbitrary practice that may have some benefits to industrial society, but is not based in the fundamental laws of Life.
I say, let’s keep our time aligned with the sun, moon, and stars. And by doing so, be aligned with all Life.
For more information on the negative effects of Daylight Saving TIme and what you can do to better adapt to the change, read CRONOBIOLOGY: The Impact of Daylight Saving on the Circadian Clock.