Daylight savings originated in the 1800’s, following a series of time zones that had been established throughout the continental United States, which were utilized by long-distance travelers and the rail system – namely, Chicago time, New York time and Meridian time. The different time-zones were standardized by the Standard Time Act of 1918.
The Standard Time Act also established the daylight savings time, but the idea was short-lived as the law was repealed in 1919.
The law was re-enacted by the Uniform Act of 1966, as a result of an energy crisis that began in the mid-1960’s. Daylight savings was set to begin in 1967 on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October.
Since the enactment of the Act, daylight savings time has been changed several times to different times and months of the year – the observance was most recently changed by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the daylight savings time to an additional four weeks beginning in 2007, from the second Sunday in Mach to the first Sunday in November.
Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, indicate that the energy savings to American households from daylight savings time, represent as much as 5%. But is the 5% in savings really worth the impact and malfunctioning of your body?
Sleep interruption and other significant adjustments that humans have to make to conform to the time change can have a significant impact in humans.
This has been proven in clinical studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic, which indicate that significant changes to the normal routine and schedule can affect body functions. The body reacts to sudden changes, which can cause depression, change in appetite, mood swings, cognitive malfunction, sleep disorder, and fatigue.
Seasonal depression generally occurs during the fall and spring time, which concurs with the systematic change of time.
At an interview on ABC News Dr. Mathew Ibben from Cornell University indicated that lack of sleep, could essentially affect body functions, as it is harder to lose an hour of sleep than to gain an hour. Dr. Ibben further indicated that lack of sleep could essentially, cause seasonal depression, also known as “seasonal active depression” since the internal clock is delayed.
Dr. Ibben recommendations to those who suffer changes and have a hard time adjusting to daylight savings time, were to maintaining a sleep schedule and taking vacation to allow the body to adjust.