Falling Back during Daylight Savings

Photo depicting what happens during the “fall back” portion of Daylight Savings. Photo courtesy of https://gagebestar.live/product_details/89275051.html 

On Nov. 5, 2023, the United States gained an hour of sleep at 2 a.m., and woke up to a brighter morning. 

Every first Sunday of November, the transition from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time moves an hour of sunlight from the night to the morning. 

Daylight Savings Time is an inconsistent practice around the world and even in our country. Some parts of the world like Great Britain and other European countries turn their clocks back the last Sunday of November, and additional places like China, India, Russia, Hawaii and parts of Arizona, do not participate in daylight savings at all. 

Bills such as the Sunshine Protection Act would prevent the United States from having to change clocks in March and November. The Sunshine Protection Act bill has been introduced to the US Senate every year since 2018, but has not yet had any effect on whether or not our clocks change bi-anually.

In Illinois, the sun now begins setting around 4:45 p.m., only two hours after high school students are dismissed, leaving them to finish their sports practices and after-school clubs in the dark.

Sports med student Mia Rivera leaves school around 6:30 p.m. and finds it different when leaving the building now with daylight savings. 

“It’s a lot darker when I leave the building, and I have to walk to my car in the dark,” Rivera said. 

The earlier sunset also has biological effects like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression triggered by lack of sunlight. SAD revolves around serotonin production, and how levels of this chemical will fall without enough sign light. A 2017 study in epidemiology found that hospital visits related to depression went up 11% during the change-over from Daylight-Savings time to Standard time. Early darkness may also prompt the brain to produce more melatonin than usual, a chemical responsible for sleeping and timing of our bodies’ circadian rhythm. 

Although it would seem getting an extra hour of sleep during the November time change would be beneficial, people actually tend to wake up earlier, have trouble falling asleep, and are more prone to waking up throughout the night.

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