Daylight Saving Time: Energy Saver, Sleep Killer?

Personal Finance
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As clocks around much of the nation spring forward this weekend – an innovation designed to literally save time and money – health experts warn that the hours lost on Sunday are hard for your body.

Our internal clocks are actually set for longer than a 24-hour day, according to Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. It’s “generally easier to stay up an hour later than to sleep an hour earlier, which is why the (daylight saving time) change is a little more of a challenge than the end of (daylight saving time] in the fall,” Feinsilver said.

Ben Franklin first proposed a resetting of clocks to follow the seasons when he was the American ambassador to France in the 18th Century and noticed the disparity in his body clock from local time. But it wasn’t implemented until World War I, when both Germany and the U.S. used it as a means to make better use of available sunlight, according to David Prerau, author of the book “Seize the Daylight.”

But daylight saving time remains a controversial and emotional issue, especially in states like Kentucky and Tennessee, which are bisected by different time zones.

Each year as many as 30 new bills appear in various state legislatures to advocate either permanently stopping daylight saving or going on daylight saving time all year long, Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” tells National Geographic. “It’s an annual treat,” he said.

Some argue that daylight saving time actually costs more energy than it saves.

But others are finding a frosty lining in the annual loss of an hour’s sleep: Krispy Kreme is offering free glazed confections for each customer in its “Lose an hour, gain a doughnut” campaign Sunday.

Clocks are set ahead one hour effective 2 a.m. Sunday.

Illustration by Brian Yee