While changing the clock by an hour may seem trivial there is evidence that in fact daylight savings has a number of different negative effects at both the individual and societal levels.
Individually it can create a sleep debt which can take people several weeks to get over. The body clock, which is responsible for regulating our sleep cycle, is a finely tuned instrument, synchronising itself with the outside world using a number of external cues. Forcing the body clock to change by an hour has the same consequences, if not the same impact, as jetlag. When we switch to daylight savings and back we are effectively giving the whole country a mild dose of jetlag.
At the societal level this creates a number of measureable effects. There are more automobile crashes following a change, there is a surge in spontaneous violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, and there is even a drop in productivity across the entire economy. In fact the Americans estimate that it costs them somewhere in the region of $400 million dollars each and every time they switch.
That hour change back and forth doesn’t seem quite so innocuous anymore does it? You can prepare yourself by going to bed ten minutes earlier or later progressively throughout the week before.
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