Our Biannual Stupidity

Daylight Saving Time is one of the dumbest ideas ever created by man.

But that’s just my opinion. Here’s what a scientist with expertise in the matter has to say.

Whether or not DST saves energy [it doesn’t] is the least of the reasons why it’s a bad idea. Much more important are the health effects of sudden, hour-long shifts on our bodies and minds. Chronobiologists* who study circadian rhythms know that for several days after the spring-forward clock resetting — and especially that first Monday — traffic accidents increase, workplace injuries go up and, perhaps most telling, incidences of heart attacks rise sharply. Cases of depression also go up. As the faint light of dawn starts preparing our bodies for waking up (mainly through the rise of cortisol secretion), our various organs, including the heart, also start preparing for increased function. If the alarm clock suddenly rings an hour earlier than usual, a weak heart can suffer an infarct.

The reason for negative health effects of DST is that, in essence, the entire world is jet-lagged for a few days. Unlike some animals, like honeybees and reindeer, humans have a very robust circadian clock system that resists abrupt shifts.

DST is a relatively recent invention in human history. In the US, Arizona, Hawaii, and some counties in Indiana refuse to go along with the system, and it’s not used at all in most non-western nations, including China, India and Russia.

It’s not likely our Congress critters would consider dropping the tradition since they can’t get organized enough to work on the real business of the country. Besides, too many of them don’t believe in anything to do with scientific evidence.

However, the keeping of time is basically a concept that’s been determined by society as a whole over the centuries. I wonder what would happen if enough of us just decided to leave the clocks alone next fall.

Think about it, people.


Chronobiology is a field of biology that examines periodic (cyclic) phenomena in living organisms and their adaptation to solar- and lunar-related rhythms.

3 thoughts on “Our Biannual Stupidity

  • March 10, 2013 at 11:38 am
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    Chronobiology sounds like a field relating to time travel and how it impacts us. I guess it is, on a very minor scale. I hope those chronobiologists get cracking on the possibilities in their field.

    I hate changing my clocks.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm
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    In Saskatchewan, we don’ t fiddle with time either. That said, i’d like an extra hour in the evening to get in a late round of golf. Either way, DST is still the worst. ;-)

    Reply

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