03/14/2013 12:04 pm ET Updated May 14, 2013

Is Daylight Saving Time Unnatural?

Don't you just hate Daylight Saving Time in the spring? Suddenly everything is an hour earlier and you just feel "late" all day for at least a week. Sleep cycles are disrupted, people get grumpy and more accidents happen.

The goal of Daylight Saving Time seems to be about somehow magically stretching daylight hours so we can log the same time at school or in the office or factory, no matter the season. Some thought DST would save energy, but research results have been contradictory, so we can't claim it's more "green" to have these biannual time changes.

I keep wondering what it would be like if we looked to nature as our guide instead of going by mechanical time. What if we rose and slept according to the varying sunrise and sunset times of the year instead of forcing our bodies to go against their natural biorhythms to fit into industrial "clock time" rather than "body time."

Our bodies evolved to live in harmony with the rest of nature. Traditional people in the world's temperate zones followed the cycle of the year, working less in the short winter days and doing more in the summer with its longer days. But somehow we've lost that thread and now force ourselves to work or sleep the same amount of time each day, no matter the time of year. One result is that sleep disorders are on the rise as more and more of us deny the natural need for adequate rest in every season.

What effect does this mechanization of our biorhythms have on our health and general well-being? Surely forcing ourselves to fit into an unvarying schedule no matter the season can't be good for us.

Ecotherapists and alternative health practitioners are starting to prescribe a more natural cycle for their patients suffering from mental and physical disorders. Ayurvedic medicine in particular urges us to match our daily activity patterns to the sun and the seasons rather than rising in the dark or staying up to all hours under artificial light.

So go gently as the consensus time shifts to Daylight Saving. Listen to your body's own messages about when it's good to rise and good to sleep rather than just following the clock's quixotic dictatorial rulings. And if you're late for work... well, just blame your ecotherapist!

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