As I See It Opinion

Daylight Savings Time Takes Its Toll

Written by Richard Hack

“If I could turn back time, If I could find a way,” Cher sang in her 1989 megahit. Of course, all of us know the secret where turning back time is concerned, and we all did it several weeks ago on Sunday March 13th when we adjusted our clocks for Daylight Savings Time. (Okay, those in Arizona didn’t touch their clocks because they’re exempt from all of this for some silliness having to do with the Mountain time zone and World War II.)

Be that as it may, we used to always look forward to Daylight Savings Time, for we always thought it somehow got us more sun—hardly in short supply in Florida any time of the year. Such is not the case.

This is not to suggest that I didn’t turn back every clock in the Hack-Davis household on the 13th.  Of course I did.  I even read stories about the origin of Daylight Savings Time beginning with Benjamin Franklin, which turned out to be completely false.

Oh, Franklin did suggest Daylight Savings Time in 1784 when he wrote an essay for the French Journal of Paris titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” Ben’s theory at the time was that, since it essentially gave us more daylight, it would save on the cost of candles. True, but apparently not enough to convince anyone at the time to go along with the idea—en masse.

While I was doing my research, however, I begin to hear rumors of how it was actually BAD for your health to go around fussing with time.

Upon carefully checking the facts, it seems medical research does suggest that Daylight Savings Time comes at a price.  A recent study found that the overall rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days after daylight saving time. Cancer victims were 25% more likely to have a stroke during that time, and people older than 65 were 20% more likely to have a stroke.

How is this possible, you ask? Well, it didn’t make sense to me either, so I dug deeper.

The research was conducted at the Finnish University of Turku where Dr. Jori Ruuskanen discovered that turning back time screwed around with the circadian clock—our internal stopwatch.

Daylight savings time is a small change, Ruuskanen said, but it affects whole nations twice a year. Ruuskanen suggested that the risk drops off in the days after the transition because our bodies and circadian clocks gradually adapt. He and his fellow researchers will present their findings in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology next month. Ruuskanen said he and his team expect to continue looking into other potential health effects of the time shift as well.

For homo and bisexuals, the effect is quite specific, according to the researchers in Finland, who know these things. Apparently, gays produce less sperm, and have a drop in their overall sex drive during the week following Daylight Savings Time.

In an effort to correct for the drop, the body redoubles it efforts in that area and ultimately overcompensates. All of which mean that as you’re reading this column, your body has just come off of hyperdrive and should be oozing sexuality.

As one who takes any excuse to investigate sex, I’ve recruited by husband to explore Dr. Ruuskanen’s theories and experiment. I’ll keep you posted, as always.