At 2:00 o’clock tomorrow morning you need to set your clock one hour ahead – spring forward – to participate in Daylight Savings Time. Some explanations for this practice include to help the harvest for farmers by providing more daylight working hours.
But, what does it mean to the rest of us non-agrarian folks?
Well, this morning if you are on a schedule, like catching an airplane or something, you lost an hour of sleep, so you may be somewhat sleep-deprived the rest of the day. This being Sunday, maybe you just slept in. If that is the case, you will start your day an hour later, but otherwise, no harm, no foul.
Later, however, we all will experience the magic of moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the afternoon – Daylight Savings. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, you now have an extra hour of daylight to do so.
As a health-oriented person, I welcome this daylight saving because I can now ride my bike later without having to deal with the dangers of darkness and street lights and reduced visibility.
If you are on the fence about what Daylight Savings Time means to you, let me suggest that you can now get out and enjoy a walk in the neighborhood or to the park and drink in some of nature’s wonders.
In January I posted an infographic listing six benefits of exercising in nature, they included: Fresh air has more oxygen; Greenscapes raise serotonin levels; Triggers primal regions of our brain and psyche; More sensory stimulation; Increases feelings of well-being and lowers depression and, finally, Sun exposure increases Vitamin D levels and helps optimize hormones.
Lastly, Gretchen Reynolds, writing in the New York Times said, “In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.”
So, smile, things are looking up. You will have a brighter day today. I guarantee it (an extra hour of sunlight). At the very least, get out and go for a walk.
I don’t know if there is such a thing as a postscript to a blog post, but if there is, here is one:
This was suggested by Reader Gail in a comment and I thought it was too good not to include in the post.
This just in: Biologist Erik Herzog, PhD, an expert in circadian rhythms from Washington University in St. Louis says, “The spring advance of our wall clocks is particularly pernicious. It is associated with statistically higher rates of traffic accidents over the following three days, and heart attacks over the following two days.
“In effect, we have a form of jet lag, where the internal clock takes several days to adjust to a new schedule. But springing forward is, in many ways, more difficult than traveling across time zones because the local light cycle has not changed.”
The fall schedule change isn’t as rough on us, but when fall comes, spring and another round of circadian stress is not far behind according to Herzog.