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    Daylight Savings Time (5-part Blog: Part 3)

    Health Arguments

    Experts argue that our internal clocks are set by the time of natural light changes throughout the year. Therefore, by forcing a time change, it can have long-term effects.

    In one European study, a collection of data on sleep patterns of 55,000 people in Central Europe produced interesting results. Per Dr. Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, negative sleep effects are quite real. Roenneberg’s researchers found that if people would not have to change to daylight savings time, they would adjust to dawn in the summer and dawn in the autumn without any problems at all. The natural adjustment to daylight savings time causes an interruption. This interruption causes sleep loss and could have long-term effects.

    Conversely, another expert, Dr. Louis Ptacek an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute disagrees. Dr Ptacek says that with the advent of the light bulb, we can create our own light at night, therefore negating any biological effects of the loss of light that might disrupt our internal clocks. Everyone knows a night owl that loves to read or watch television late at night, and they don’t seem to be fatigued or unhealthy if they have a job that does not require them to be up extremely early in the morning.

    Dr. Ptacek further contends that there are more social activities possible with artificial light and that adds to a more balanced, healthier lifestyle. Health issues are one aspect that probably could give us all an unending discussion; however, the idea of daylight savings time began as an attempt to further an economical goal. Does daylight savings time actually save or make money? As ever, there are several arguments surrounding these economical questions.

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