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13 March 2017 , Geert Doorlag

Daylight Saving Time

Summer is just around the corner and we’re finally able to enjoy daylight a little longer. But why do we change the time? And how can you wake up well-rested despite the shorter night?

Daylight Saving Time

Summer time

We change the clock twice a year. Why? It’s a long story...

In 1909, a proposal was made to change the time so that people could enjoy more daylight hours. Many took stock of this idea, but nothing concrete came out of it.

However, it was implemented in war time. Warfare was expensive and advancing clocks allowed people to save on coal.

It was abolished again in 1946, after the end of WWII.

Fast-forward to 1977, and daylight saving time was re-introduced.  This time because of the oil crisis. Enjoying natural light for longer in summer allowed people to save on energy. And we’re still doing that to this day.

*yawn*

summer time

But don’t be fooled! Changing the time has disadvantages too, particularly in spring, when we move the clock forward. We wake up an hour earlier than usual, which disrupts our rhythm.

After all, our sleep is largely controlled by our biological clock, which is why we tend to get tired more or less at the same time every day and we wake up at about the same time in the morning. It’s difficult to reset this biological clock - think of jetlag and its effects, but many people also have a hard time adjusting to daylight saving time changes. On average, we need a day to adjust to a one-hour time difference.

The hardest is summer time, when we have to give up an hour of sleep. Research (during which people lived inside a dark cave for a long period of time) also shows that our biological clock is not set at 24 hours, but averages around 24.2 hours. As a result, it’s closer to a 25-hour day than a 23-hour day. That’s why many people find it hard to adjust to daylight saving time. 

But don’t worry! We’ve got some tips for you! 

  1. Make sure you’re well-rested to better deal with the one-hour difference in sleep either way.
  2. Make the transition a gradual one, for example by setting your alarm clock to go off half an hour earlier than usual the day before.
  3. Make the best use of the daylight - enjoy it to the fullest! Our biological clock is strongly regulated by light, so try to go out in the morning and avoid too much exposure to light after sunset.

Enjoy the summer!