How does daylight saving affect the body? (Thinkstock)
How does daylight saving affect the body?
Lexile

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. The result is our internal rhythms get off kilter. It is 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 and 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?

Assigned 177 times


COMMENTS (127)
  • AustinN-3
    3/13/2015 - 09:13 a.m.

    Though daylight savings doesn't seem like such a big deal, it actually has a major effect on one's body clock. The biggest tell when studying our body clocks is light. When we start daylight savings, and change the time, even if it's only by an hour, "it alters the amount of light we see in a day." So it messes with our timed release of hormones and even our moods. Daylight savings was an idea that Benjamin Franklin came up with in 1784. It's purpose was to help save energy.

    This was a very interesting article. It was well written and answered a lot of questions about daylight savings.

  • 1madied
    3/13/2015 - 09:28 a.m.

    In my opinion I dont think it is a good idea. I lose energy when this happens and it changes my thinking. I soon get use to onetime and then daylight savings come and I amjust not use to it which I don't like. overall I don't like daylight savings and do not think we should have it.

  • 1CoraA
    3/13/2015 - 11:18 a.m.

    After reading this article I feel like it true because if we didn't see enough light a day it can make you depressed or sad. also it messes with are sleep so during those 3 days not being used to the hour ahead your going be tired for school then next day.

  • EmilyJ-Kut
    3/13/2015 - 11:42 a.m.

    It is so weird how daylight savings really has nothing to do with our bodies. That it is all because of the amount of daylight we see and how that effects our hormones. I think t is so weird how changing your clocks back or forward just 1 hour affects our whole day. By giving us headaches, heart attacks and so on.

  • BradfordAmani-DiB
    3/13/2015 - 11:47 a.m.

    Daylight saving is messing with the student body. Especially highschoolers. It is harder for us to function due to how the time changes. Maybe school should start later on daylight savings

  • AvaP-4
    3/13/2015 - 11:59 a.m.

    Daylights saving time has just happened, meaning we just lost an hour of sleep. Also, the days are longer and the sun is out for longer. This affects the body because our sleep cycle is used to to it being dark earlier and going to sleep earlier. Now, at a period of the day that we are used to the dark, it is light. This has caused peoples' moods to change, and hormones to release. This has been a result of increasing amounts of car crashes, heart attacks, and cluster headaches, AKA the worst pain known to man. I think we should just stick to one time, and not switch the clocks.

  • preciousa1028
    3/13/2015 - 12:04 p.m.

    I think daylights saving is stupid because they don't know if it really does save energy, but what they do know is that it can cause cluster headaches, more heart attacks and more car accidents.

  • 21jamatt
    3/13/2015 - 12:19 p.m.

    I hate daylight savings time it is dumb I lose sleep I fall asleep in class its weird I hate it so much I blame Obama.

  • 21sjjens
    3/13/2015 - 12:21 p.m.

    I do not think that daylight savings is particularly necessary. All it really does is make you have a lesser amount of hours to sleep than you originally had.

  • blakeriley45
    3/13/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    I am a 6th grader and I have to go to school at seven in the morning. I was just getting used to waking up at six and then we had a time change. So really I'm waking up at five. This makes me more tired during the day and less productive. This is a stupid idea. It makes me have headaches and be grumpy.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT