The issues with daylight savings
On the second Sunday of March, clocks around the continental United States (excluding Arizona) advance precisely an hour in response to the arrival of spring. To most individuals, this time change means only one thing: losing an hour of sleep.
The concept of preserving daylight was formally introduced during World War I by Germany and Austria in an effort to conserve electricity. By using daylight as a light source as opposed to electricity, people did not consume as much electricity. To “preserve daylight and provide standard time,” the United States adopted the Standard Time Act in 1918. Today, Daylight Savings Time starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.
However, as time passes on, we seem to forget the original purpose of Daylight Savings Time: to increase industrial productivity by conserving energy. Technological advances counteract the need for natural light, so we need to abolish the concept of changing the time twice a year and replace it with a more consistent system. By sticking with the traditional time change act implemented nearly a century ago, we are doing nothing more than obeying a futile rule.
The start of Daylight Savings Time leads to a multitude of problems. When Daylight Savings starts, we all lose one hour of sleep. The human body system is designed to gradually adapt to its external environment, and the circadian clocks that run in our body are no different. Daylight Savings Time causes a sudden change, which negatively affects our body’s physical health.
In recent studies, scientists have associated health consequences, and even fatalities, with the sudden time change. A New York Times article confirmed “a 5 percent greater risk of heart attack in the three days immediately after the spring time change.” Similarly, CNN concluded that “the overall rate for stroke was 8 percent higher in the two days after daylight saving time.” In addition, studies have shown that traffic accidents become more frequent and workplace injuries are more common because of Daylight Savings Time.
As a student, I see daylight savings as nothing more than a problem to the student body. Lack of sleep already hinders our school performance, and losing an additional hour of sleep isn’t exactly helping.
The most infuriating aspect of Daylight Savings is the time change that it forces people to accept. In the end, the time system ends up taking one hour of sleep, then giving it back later into the year. Sacrificing energy consumption rather than ruining our normal sleep schedules would be the better call.
Daylight Savings Time has been around for decades. However, within this time frame, people have done nothing to solve the problems the system imposes on sleep schedules. It’s time we address these issues and put an end to Daylight Savings.
By Andrew Kim, Opinion editor
Editorial cartoon by Joy Wang