Garden Detective

Jessica Damiano's award-winning garden blog gets to the root of things.

Out with daylight saving time, in with standard time

Can switching back to Standard Time be bad

Can switching back to Standard Time be bad for your health? (Credit: Handout)

Daylight saving time 2013 will end Sunday at 2 a.m., so it'll be best to set your clocks back an hour before retiring for the night on Saturday. Soon, many of us can expect to wake up in the dark, and come home from work in the dark, too, as there's more than the clock at play: The time shift will be compounded by shorter day lengths. That might seem like a double whammy, but it is standard time, after all, which is natural, unlike DST, which I prefer but nonetheless is an altered realtiy.

The notion of daylight saving time is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who proposed rising an hour earlier in order to conserve candles, but it didn't take root until World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt started what he called "War Time” in an effort to save resources. According to timeanddate.com, the law, which was in effect from 1942-1945, "was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and during this time, time zones were called 'Eastern War Time,' 'Central War Time,' and 'Pacific War Time.' After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled 'Peace Time.' But mass confusion ensued because states and municipalities were able to opt in or out -- until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was passed. It's still not mandatory, but all states except Arizona and Hawaii participate. More than 70 countries worldwide have adapted their own versions, as well.

There are those, however, who prefer standard time. They insist they feel "off" after DST kicks in and never regain full well-being until the clock rights itself. I can't speak to whether that's a biological or psychological phenomenon, but some experts contend the whole thing is pointless -- even harmful.

A California Energy Commission report maintains that little -- if any -- energy benefit is actually attained when we switch to DST. ABC News has reported that the annual switch messes with people's internal clock and can lower work productivity. And the New England Journal of Medicine has asserted that the annual shifts from DST to standard time and back can actually increase your chances of a heart attack.

Maybe we all should just sleep in.

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