Sunday, November 6, 2016

Daylight Saving And The Importance of Sleep

It’s that time of the year again for us to fall back an hour when daylight saving time ends this Sunday November 6 at 2am.

Depending on your views on daylight saving, Benjamin Franklin can take either the blame or the credit for coming up with the idea.

Franklin introduced the idea of daylight saving in 1784, when he wrote a satirical letter to The Journal of Paris arguing that people will save money on candles if people rose earlier and turned in earlier at night.

Knowing that many people would oppose the idea, he jokingly proposed measures such as a window shutters tax, candle rationing enforced by the law and the firing of cannons every morning to get people to wake up earlier.

He assured readers that the difficulty in doing so would only last the first few days. All in all, it was a subtle (or perhaps not-so-subtle?) dig at the French for being lazy, but over a hundred years later, his idea came to be implemented by whole nations.

Germany was the first country to start implementing daylight saving in 1916 during WWI to save on fuel. America followed suit during WWI and WWII,

It is popularly believed that farmers supported daylight saving, in truth; they bitterly opposed it because it disrupted their schedules.

Today, Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states in America that do not observe daylight saving. California may soon join them; a bill to scrap daylight saving recently passed a Senate committee; if approved by both the Senate and California Governor Jerry Brown, the bill appear on the ballot for California voters no later than 2018.

If there is anything daylight saving can tell us though, it is just how important sleep is. Sleep deprivation caused by losing just one hour of sleep from daylight saving has been shown to increase U.S. traffic accidents by 6 percent for 6 days after we spring forward.

A 2015 University of Colorado study found that daylight saving time may have caused 302 fatal road accidents over 10-year period. Workplace injuries also increase on the Monday after daylight saving begins.

The good news? Daylight saving is finally ending, for this year at least. If you don’t live in either Hawaii or Arizona, you can enjoy an extra hour of sleep this coming Monday.

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