Daylight saving time, which began today when we “Sprang forward” an hour, could leave some feeling Spring fever … literally. Along with economic dips and lack of energy savings, the time change greatly affects an individual’s health and love life.
Supported by Benjamin Franklin, observing daylight saving time was meant for people to get more done with the extra sunlight. During World War II, extensive use of daylight saving time heightened productivity in America. However, the practice of springing forward did not become an actual amendment until 1987. Since then, Americans don’t approach daylight savings with the same optimism as Franklin, but instead with disdain over the hour lost.
In recent years, some have argued that daylight saving actually saves energy. According to the California Energy Commission, 25% of all electricity in an American home is used for lights and electronic appliances. It claims that daylight saving time reduces the amount of electricity used due to the extra hour of sunlight.
However, some argue that daylight saving time does not help reduce energy costs, it actually increases it. When Indiana decided to initiate a statewide daylight saving time in 2006, researchers from the University of California-Santa Barbara found that the spring forward led to an increase worth $8.6 million in residential electricity. While people save electricity by using fewer lights, they tend to use heaters more in early spring months like March, and more air conditioning in the summer.
But some industries actually do profit from daylight saving time the way Franklin intended. More time for recreational activities means more money for tourism industries and increased gas consumption for cars. According to MSN Health, the golf industry cashes in during daylight saving time, making an extra $200-$400 million off more hours of sunlight.
Despite using an extra hour to inspire people to go out, people greet daylight saving time with stress, thereby affecting an individual’s health and love life. According to a study done by the University of Alabama, an abrupt change to one’s daily routine could increase the risk of a heart attack by 10%. This risk heightens the Monday of daylight savings, but apparently lowers significantly the Monday after daylight savings ends in October. The study proves reasonably accurate, since stress already begins with the fear of forgetting to adjust one’s clock so as not to arrive late to things.
Aside from health, daylight savings time can also affect romantic relationships due to the increased levels of stress, which strains one’s emotional health.
So how does one optimize this dreadful day of the year? Move to Arizona or Hawaii, two states that don’t observe daylight saving. If that’s not possible, stand in the early sunlight Sunday morning to help your mind and body adjust, says Dr. Albert Lewy, director of Oregon Health and Science University's Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory in Portland to ABC News. Trying to adjust to the time change early on will help lessens that emotional fever one can feel Monday morning.
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