Daylight saving time ends this weekend and will once again leave kids and parents struggling to reset their internal clock. Is the daylight saving time circadian disruption worth it?
Daylight saving time ends early Sunday and some scientists – and parents – say that for the good of tired, grumpy kids and parents everywhere we shouldn't return to it again in the Spring.
Why? Because saving less than four bucks in electricity per American household is a bad trade for messing with our kids’ circadian rhythm , forcing them to tick when they ought to tock. Circadian body clocks are set by light and darkness, scientists describe them as the molecular cycles regulating when humans feel awake and when humans feel sleepy, as well as the hunger and hormone production timetables.
According to a 2007 Current Biology article, research shows that the long-term effects of daylight saving time are drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and being just plain tired and grouchy, Live Science reported.
The report tells us that when daylight saving time ends or begins, most people never adjust to that bi-annual alteration to Mother Nature’s body clock.
"When you change clocks to daylight saving time, you don't change anything related to sun time," explained lead researcher Till Roenneberg of Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. "This is one of those human arrogances – that we can do whatever we want as long as we are disciplined. We forget that there is a biological clock that is as old as living organisms, a clock that cannot be fooled. The pure social change of time cannot fool the clock."
I’m with Ronnenberg on this one, having lived on a sailboat for five years with kids and without clocks.
During the years when we rose and rested with the rise and fall of the sun my kids and I were bright and chipper. We rarely got sick and the only grouch we knew lived on Sesame Street and was named Oscar.
However, when we all moved back to land – and to daylight saving time – the alteration in all of us was very obvious because from that day to this we never seem to catch up on our sleep. Obviously, there were other changes in our land lubber lives.