Daylight savings time is often an annoying inconvenience for some and sleep pattern disrupted nightmare for others. But that could all be over if scientists have anything to say about it.
Scientists now say now say that humans around the globe should simply adopt a single universal time. We could get on board with that! Now, those who dislike daylight savings time (that lost hour of sleep in spring is no win situation for so many) are validated by science. Scientists have been finding more and more evidence to suggest that our health is suffering because of the twice a year insistence by the government that we change the time.
Simply put, the human body doesn’t know what hour it is, it doesn’t know what day it is. Humans are ruled by an internal biological, or circadian clock that’s ruled by the presence and absence of daylight. Meaning we produce hormones to help us fall asleep when it’s dark, and hormones to help us wake up when it becomes light again. But, when we ignore that very basic mechanism and force our bodies to function according to arbitrary times, we’re risking our health, researchers are finding.
“There is already evidence that students who have to go to school at 7:30 am perform worse than matched peers who start at 8:30 am because it is thought they are fighting their circadian rhythm,” Gari Clifford, an expert on sleep disorders at Emory University in the US, told Ralitsa Vassileva at CNN. “Rather than forcing everyone to get up earlier, it may make more sense to make everyone get up later.”
A study that came out in 2015 found that unhealthy people tend to struggle with sleep problems as it is (more so than their healthy counterparts) and the transition into daylight savings time is even worse on their already throttled sleep schedule. And the real kicker is it’s all completely arbitrary anyway.
The global time zones we currently set our lives to were first set up at the Meridian Conference in 1883. In an effort to reconcile the literally hundreds of different time zones adhered to around the world, says Vassileva, “nations agreed to have 24 time zones, each one 15 degrees wide, based on the Greenwich Meridian in London.”
Now scientists are asking to get rid of the old antiquated system we currently use for the time and have pondered: What if we all just lived according to a single universal time zone like pilots do? We’d still get up in the morning, go to work, and go to bed at night, but we’d all be living off the same clocks. Your personal schedule wouldn’t change. It would just be the same time everywhere on earth.
“As for daily life, nothing would change very much, except one big thing. Everyone in the world would be reading the same time on their watches at the same moment,” applied economist Steve H. Hanke, from the Johns Hopkins University in the US, told Vassileva at CNN. It sounds fantastic – never having to deal with changing every single clock in your house twice a year just to accommodate something completely arbitrary.