Change Those Clocks — The Brits Are Watching

This weekend we fall back in time one hour, from Daylight Saving time to Standard Time. We can get an extra hour of sleep, but we lose an hour of sunshine. Some sleep experts — and even some lawmakers overseas — would like to tweak the time change.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Tomorrow we fall back in time one hour, from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.�The change comes at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Some U.S. territories, most of Arizona and all of Hawaii don't recognize Daylight Saving Time, so they won't have to readjust their clocks. And nowadays clocks pop up in ovens and televisions, as well as clocks.

Americans may get an extra hour of sleep, but we'll lose an hour of being able to see sunshine during the day. As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, some sleep experts and even some lawmakers overseas would like to tweak the time change.

SONARI GLINTON: It's time to set the clocks back.

(Soundbite of clock winding)

GLINTON: The car, the DVR, the microwave. Oh yeah, change the batteries in your smoke detector, can't forget that. Well, some experts think we should rethink the whole routine.

Dr. PHYLLIS ZEE (Northwestern University): The brain responds to light. Bright light is a very powerful drug for the brain.

GLINTON: Dr. Phyllis Zee is a sleep expert at Northwestern University. Yes, she's a sleep expert and her name is Zee.

Zee says we need to do a better job of maximizing daylight and rather than a one size fits all approach, she suggests tailoring the time change to different latitudes and even individuals.

Dr. ZEE: And certainly, I don't think anyone would argue, increasing exposure to daylight is beneficial, but in particular for alertness, for mood, safety, performance, and perhaps because your circadian rhythms are better aligned, that that also has implications for physical as well as mental health.

GLINTON: In England, parliamentarians are now reviewing a measure to add two hours in summer and one in winter.

Mayer Hillman is a British Researcher and a time change advocate who just released a report showing that the extra sunlight would affect everything from mood to alertness on the road.

Mr. MAYER HILLMAN: There will be a reduction in road casualties. Secondly, it will encourage far more outdoor activity for obvious reasons. It would also be a considerable boost to the tourist industry. And the most remarkable thing is that it wouldn't cost anything.

(Soundbite of clock winding)

GLINTON: British lawmakers take up their debate over the change in December.�

Here, you still got to remember those clocks.�

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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