How time zones and time changes impact our sleep
Bottom Line: All time zones aren’t created equal because where we live in them isn’t equal. As part of the debate regarding the effort to put an end to Florida’s time changes, we’ve discussed the negative health outcomes associated with time changes. But time change or no time change – there's a sleep/health component to where we live within our time zones. And this is generally good news for those of us living on Florida’s east coast.
A new scientific study on time zones found the following...
- Those who live on the eastern edge of a time zone sleep longer, are generally healthier and earn more money
That’s pretty compelling right? The reason comes down to our body clock and natural tendencies. The difference in the time the sunsets from the eastern end of time zones compared to the western end is about 73 minutes. Once sunsets our body clocks kick in and start producing melatonin telling us to begin to wind it down. The result is that the average person living on the eastern end of a time zone goes to bed earlier generally and averages 19 minutes more sleep per night! The extra sleep equals better overall health and more productivity at work resulting in higher earnings.
That’s good news for those of us on the east coast of Florida and bad news for folks in the panhandle just east of Panama City. The lead scientist, Matthew Walker, also had one of my all-time favorite quotes:“human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain.” That’s a hint if you’re inclined to fight going to bed generally.