Hello daylight. Goodbye darkness. Welcome to daylight savings time (DST)!
That extra hour of light goes a long way in making you feel good, boosting your mood, and reminding you that spring is just around the corner.
The idea of changing the time to extend daylight was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 . In his essay, An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light, published in the Journal of Paris, Franklin observed the economic and productivity value of daylight.
He suggested resetting the clocks forward an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall. This would reduce the need for candles as there would be more light in the early morning when you rise.
More daylight, better health
Beyond saving on the costs of candles and energy, the health benefits of natural light have been studied extensively. The growing consensus among researchers suggests that exposure to light can make you feel better, even in cases of seasonal affective disorder.
In the article, Seasonal affective disorder: bring on the light, Michael Craig Miller, MD, writes:
If lack of sunlight causes or contributes to seasonal affective disorder, then getting more light may reverse it. Bright light works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day can restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus banish seasonal symptoms.
Start your day right
If you want an easy way to point yourself in a positive direction every day, simply take advantage of the daylight.
1) In the morning enjoy the light. Open the shades and let the sun shine into your home. On overcast days, turn on as many lights as you can.
2) Walk outside each day, the earlier the better. This is a good way to naturally jump-start your body and let it know night is over and now you need to wake up.
3) Sit in the sun for a few minutes every day (even in the winter) and take in the natural benefits of sunlight. But be careful not to overdo it and risk overexposure. Use sunscreen as a precaution.
As the days grow longer, enjoy the brilliance of the sun. Make each day count as we transition into spring and feel good knowing that a new, warmer season will soon arrive.