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Daylight Savings Time Makes You Happier, At Least On Facebook

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Facebook has taken a look at their post Daylight Savings Time data and found, unsurprisingly, that losing an hour of sleep made people sleepier. There was, however, one surprise: losing that hour may make us tired, but it also seems to make us feel happier.

On the Monday following the switch over to DST, people who reported themselves as feeling "tired" rose 25%. Meanwhile, "sleepy" jumped up 28%, and "exhausted" 20%. Curiously, even Arizona (which does not participate in DST) experienced a slight sympathy-bump of expressed tiredness of 12%, as you can see from this map of increased expressions of tiredness on Facebook across the nation:


But, especially as expressed tiredness begins to fade out at around noon, people were also expressing greater happiness. Via Facebook's Data Science team:

"On the Monday following DST, we see +21% increased usage of "wonderful", and +19% increased usage of "great" compared to the previous Monday. Meanwhile, "annoyed" is down 14 percent and "bored" is down 12 percent. Even the generic macro-feelings of happy (+5.7%) and sad (-4.8%) follow these patterns."


And, while the increased usage of tiredness tends to have faded out by Tuesday, the happiness-bump continues to show up in statuses all week long.

Of course, real happiness and Facebook happiness are not quite the same thing. One is a genuine emotion that other people read using a complex matrix of facial expressions, words, and body language. The other is expressed primarily through smashing together a colon and a single parenthese in a dark facsimile of a smiling face. Or to put it another way, one of these is a lot easier to fake than the other.

Still, whether it's the extra hour of sunlight or just an attempt to fake happiness until we can make it, the idea that shifting our attitudes is as simple as shifting the clocks is an interesting one. So, what do you all think? With a week of daylight savings time behind you, does the Facebook data match up with your experience?

Map and Graph via Facebook.