How does daylight saving affect the body? (Thinkstock)
How does daylight saving affect the body?
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You asked us, how does daylight saving affect the human body. Well, the most important cue for studying our internal clocks is light.

When we suddenly change the time by an hour, it alters the amount of light we see during the day, and the result is our internal rhythms get off kilter, kind of like our sleep-wake cycles, the timed release of hormones, and even our moods.

So why do we follow daylight saving again?

Ben Franklin first suggested it in 1784 as a way to save energy and the U.S. got on board in the 1960s, but Arizona and Hawaii continue to be holdouts.

Did your body complain about daylight saving time?

Now, whether daylight saving time actually saves us energy is up for debate. But what is clear is that messing with our internal clocks can have some really nasty consequences.

This shift has been linked with a possible increase in car and workplace accidents, heart attacks, and even cluster headaches, which have been described as one of the most painful conditions known to man.

I don't know about you, but Arizona and Hawaii are looking pretty good to me right now.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Learn more about daylight saving time.

Critical thinking challenge: How does daylight saving time save time?

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COMMENTS (67)
  • Kera18
    3/13/2015 - 09:23 a.m.

    I definitely agree with the article, daylight savings time really does mess with a persons internal clock. Personally i think the loss of an hour of sleep is worth gaining extra sunlight. It also makes me feel that the warmer weather is right around the corner!

  • 3JakeS
    3/13/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    Daylight savings actually saves time because it gets lighter later into the night. Because in the winter it gets darker at night, we get tired earlier. When we get another hour of daylight, we feel more rejuvenated.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    3/13/2015 - 10:18 a.m.

    There are benefits to day light savings but also challenges. The benefit of day light savings is longer nights. The challenge of daylight savings is getting up. The reason it is hard to get up is because it is so dark early in the morning and you feel as if you should still be sleeping.

  • baseballdiva6723
    3/13/2015 - 10:49 a.m.

    I don't like day light savings time. I get tired by the end of the school day or work day. I fall asleep in class while I am working on my papers. One thing I do like about day light savings time is the extra time I have to hangout with my friends outside.

  • 5SethM
    3/13/2015 - 12:17 p.m.

    I think it is quite obvious how daylight saving time affects us. We get less sleep! I would be lying if I said I didn't have trouble the first couple of days of daylight saving time.

    • JoscylnG-Kan
      3/16/2015 - 09:08 a.m.

      I so agree with you 5SethM. With the whole daylight saving time I've been having so much more trouble getting enough sleeping, knowing I have to wake up even before the sun comes out.

  • 1GracieH
    3/13/2015 - 12:20 p.m.

    I didn't know that Ben Franklin had anything to do with daylight savings time! I also had no idea how much of an effect it had on our bodies. Sure I knew that the sun came out early and stayed out longer in the evening.

  • hunter.mellinger64
    3/13/2015 - 12:41 p.m.

    I actually like daylight savings because we all get an extra hour in the day. Daylight Saving Time is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide, but affects over a billion people every year.

  • johanna.galloway34
    3/13/2015 - 12:51 p.m.

    It is affecting the body because you are used to the other time change that we just had, such as setting the clocks backwards. Like you don't want to get up because you have less sleep and more daylight. The thing about daylight savings time, is that we are springing forward in the spring and going back in the fall. Right now we have 12 hours of daylight.

  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    3/13/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    I LOVE SPRING BACK! I HATE FALL AHEAD! I dont even get enough sleep as it is, now we have to push the clocks back?! Thats okay i just sleep through the weekends.

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