Where we live inside our time zone affects our health - how do we stand?

If you have friends in Dallas or Wichita or Omaha, you know they're in the same time zone as we are in Wisconsin. But do you realize that since they're significantly further west, they get later sunrise and sunset times? It's easy to forget. Heck, even Madison and Milwaukee have different sunrise and sunset times by about six minutes or so. And of course, right across Lake Michigan it's the Eastern Time Zone, so when it's say, a 9pm sunset in June in Milwaukee the sunset it closer to 10pm in Grand Rapids. It's interesting, it's science... but did you know the difference in sunset times can actually affect our health and well-being?

Sleep researchers have done some research and the study, about to be published in the Journal of Health Economics and detailed in this article, found that living on the wrong side of a time zone’s boundary can have negative consequences on a person’s health and wallet, in part because it messes with our natural circadian rhythms - which Daylight Savings does abruptly twice a year.

More natural light in the evening hours, like they have on the western edge of a time zone, causes people to stay up later and consequently get less sleep on average, since most morning events (work or school times, for example) are set. However, they can also enjoy those later hours of daylight more. So while here in Wisconsin we get earlier sunsets than they do further west in our Central Time Zone, we do often end up with more sleep and consequently, better health. And we can enjoy things in the dark, too.

The bottom line is, where you live within your time zone matters. And I found that interesting since we're so far to the east in ours!

And no matter where you live, if you do morning radio, you're always in a bit of a daze - trust me!

Jawbone Sleep Tracker Data, courtesy of the Washington Post
Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen

I wanted to be in radio since I was four - and four decades later I still haven't grown out of it... Read more

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