Daylight saving time battle grows as Americans prepare to fall back

(NBC) We’re heading into the first weekend of November, which means it’s time to change your clock and deal with the disruptions that come with it.

It’s a practice that was first introduced in the early 20th century. But the future of daylight saving time is far from settled.

But this November could be the final “fall back” as more lawmakers and Americans question the decades-old ritual’s usefulness.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans want the biannual flip-flop to stop as they struggle to adapt to what many consider the worst kind of time travel.

Every year, on the second Sunday in March, most of the U.S. “springs” forward an hour to extend light later into the evening.

Then the first Sunday in November we fall back, allowing for an earlier sunrise. But why do we do it?

Contrary to popular belief, the practice — first introduced here more than a century ago — was not implemented to help farmers gain extra daylight, but rather to save on electricity. Though experts say those savings have been, at most, minimal.

But the time change can have a very real impact on your health with some people suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

Norman E. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He explained, “When the days get shorter and dark, it can be severe, or it can be relatively mild. But in any event, it disrupts function and disrupts the ability to enjoy one’s life.

Researchers have also found an increase in the number of heart attacks, strokes and car accidents in the days after the time change.

This past March, the Senate unanimously voted to make daylight saving time permanent, but the bill has since stalled in the house.

Critics point out it’s already been tried in the 1970s and ended less than a year later.

For now, the clock is turning back, so there are some ways to better adjust.

First, embrace the extra hour of rest. Experts say more than a third of Americans are sleep deprived.

Also, make the shift gradual. Start incrementally moving up your bedtime now and consider buying a wake up light.

Dr. Rosenthal said, “Light is important for wakefulness. Light is important for activity and light is important for mood. The light that’s been taken away from; you take it back.”

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