Questions for “How daylight saving time throws off your internal clock”

woman in bed with arms outstretched as the morning sun shines through the window behind her

Daylight saving time cuts back on morning light. That can make it harder for people — especially teens — to comfortably wake.

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To accompany feature “How daylight saving time throws off your internal clock


Before Reading:

1. What does it mean to “spring forward” for daylight saving time? How does that change which part of the day has daylight?

2. How do you feel in the couple of days immediately after the switch to daylight saving time? Is it easier or harder to wake up in the morning? Is it easier or harder to fall asleep at night? How do you feel after “falling back” to standard time in the autumn?

During Reading:

1.  Which U.S. states do not observe daylight saving time?

2.  What would the Sunshine Protection Act have changed, if the U.S. House of Representatives had passed it?

3.  According to Kenneth Wright, why is a big deal biologically for our bodies and brains to be out of sync with the sun?

4.  List three examples of health problems that have been linked to the transition to daylight saving time.

5.  According to the sleep experts quoted in this story, which is healthiest: permanent standard time, permanent daylight saving time or switching back and forth?

6.  How have researchers taken advantage of time zone borders to conduct studies? What groups of people have some of these studies compared?

7.  How does puberty affect evening drowsiness? Why?

8.  Describe how a Denver-area school district tried changing school start times. How did the change affect elementary school kids? How did it affect middle and high school kids?

9.  What effect does morning light have on people? Why is that important?

10. Sonal Malhotra says consistency is key for good sleep. What are four things she suggests you keep consistent to help you sleep?

After Reading:

1.  Based on what you’ve read in this story, do you think the United States should change how it handles daylight saving time? Provide at least two reasons to support your answer.

2.  Imagine your school district is considering changing the start time of middle and high schools. If your school currently starts before 8 a.m., imagine they are considering moving the start time an hour later; if it now starts at 8 a.m. or later, imagine they are considering moving the start time an hour earlier. Some members of the school board have read that early school start times can be especially hard on adolescents, so they are asking for input from community teens. Write a letter to the school board presenting your viewpoint about whether they should change the time, including supporting evidence for your argument.