Washington, Mar 7 : It's television and not sun that determines our sleep schedule, says a new research.
With spring approaching the United States of America, the nation is readying itself for losing an hour of sleep with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time.
This is a 'shock' not only to those of us who value our sleep, but also to all levels of the economy, from the individual to the world.
In a forthcoming article for the Journal of Labor Economics, "Cues for Timing and Coordination: Latitude, Letterman, and Longitude," authors Daniel S. Hamermesh, Caitlin Knowles Myers, and Mark L. Pocock look at the brief fight between American's natural timing cues-the circadian rhythms determined by the sun-and the man-made cues brought on within the last century, mainly by the creation of time zones and the television broadcast schedule.
In this brief time, the researchers find the markers for how we structure our day have been dramatically altered.
For the study, the authors turned to data provided by the unprecedented Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which enabled them to observe how Americans split their time between their three most time-consuming activities: work, sleep, and television watching.
After merging ATUS with sunrise and sunset data, the authors found that while natural daylight patterns have some effect on people's life patterns, the demands of global business-market openings, etc-and regular television schedule demarcate the boundaries of most Americans' lives.
The research said that they were "amazed how little daylight matters nowadays, and how much artificial time zones matter."
The scientists conclude that while the "natural cue of daylight has some effect on timing...the entirely artificial cue of the timing of television programs has still larger effects."