Dear Daylight Savings,
On Sunday, Nov. 6 the clocks will fall backward an hour and the sun will set at lunchtime. By 4:30 p.m. it will be pitch black and you will be able to enjoy your sandwich for lunch while watching the sunset.
Okay … maybe I am being a bit dramatic; however, I think we can all agree with the dysfunction that arises when we “lose” or “gain” an hour of our day.
Before I argue against daylight savings, I thought it would be important to explain why we have it in the first place. Many believe that it was created to give farmers an extra hour of sunlight to tend to their fields. However, this is a misconception and farmers too are against this because of the fact it actually throws off their harvesting schedule.
The real reason is based on energy conservation and to make daylight times match when those are awake. The practice has been implemented in some form dating back to pre-World War I. Germany originally introduced the practice to conserve power and energy. In 1918, The Standard Time Act was first introduced to American clocks and residents. It was a temporary measure that lasted from spring to fall that also was used to cut energy costs during WWI.
However, DST today has far more negatives than positives. The disruption in sleep has a waterfall effect on students, professionals and the elderly. Many studies have shown that there are negative events that follow the change of the clocks. For example, a Swedish study found that the risk of having a heart attack increases in the first three weekdays after switching to DST in the spring.
Additionally, tiredness induced by the clock change is thought to be the main cause for the increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the start of DST. Another study found that on Mondays after the start of DST there were more workplace injuries, and the injuries were of greater severity compared to other Mondays. A Danish study found an 11% increase in depression cases after the time change. The cases dissipated gradually after 10 weeks. These are just a few examples of the deterioration in health that could have links to DST.
It is important to note that there could be a chance that Daylight Savings has the chance of not occurring anymore. The Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan legislation – known as the Sunshine Protection Act – which was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in March 2019. It was quickly backed by two of his Democratic colleagues, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Now, it has the chance to be placed into action by the House – however, we won’t see any changes until 2023.
Time will only tell if this act will actually get rid of DST, however, if both sides of the aisle can agree on something it must be pretty bad.