End daylight savings time now
As most of you know, last weekend we were forced to switch our clocks back one hour in observance of daylight saving time, something that a long time ago held significance, but in today’s mobile electronic age means very little.
In Ben Franklin’s day, daylight saving time, which was pretty much a suggested practice, meant time with more sun and less burning of candles. In World War I it was suggested to conserve coal or other fuels being burned at the time. In World War II it was suggested to conserve energy. It wasn’t an official practice in the U.S. until 1966, when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act.
To this day it is purported to benefit people, especially farmers.
However, Discovery.com and The Atlantic say otherwise. And they bring up some very interesting points.
1. Little energy is saved: The Atlantic article mentioned 2007 studies done in California and Indiana. (2007 was when DST was extended for a month.) The California study found savings to be at 0.18%, and the Indiana study found that air-conditioning use increased in that extra hour of sun, making electric bills higher.
In today’s society, how many people do you know who unplug “wall wart” adapters used to charge tablets and cell phones after the devices are done charging? How many people do you know who unplug televisions and other electronics, or the power strips they’re plugged into, when they leave the house? How many people do you know who shut off air conditioning and fans in the summer and heaters and furnaces in the winter? (Especially in North Dakota, where the only two real seasons are cold-as-sin winters and hot-as-hell summers.) How many do you know who leave at least one light on in their homes, even if they’re sleeping or not around? Each of these practices eat energy and drive up electric bills, regardless of whether or not daylight saving is in effect.
2. Biological clocks are screwed up, and health is affected: Switching clocks ahead one hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall messes with Circadian rhythms, and they never really adjust, a 2007 BMC Biology (a subsidiary of BioMed Central) study found. Circadian rhythms involve sleep and immune-system function, both of which are pretty important. But take both into account and add a heart condition, and in the two days following the spring time change there’s a 10 percent increase in heart attacks.
3. It affects the working and the studious: Have you ever worked while battling a lack of sleep, be it an hour or two? That means more trips to get coffee or soda, or whatever keeps you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed enough to work 4-8 hours per shift, and it also means a loss of productivity.
And a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that on-the-job injuries increase due to the time change-about 4 more on average on Mondays following.
DST doesn’t just affect workers, it affects children going to school. A study in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics found that students in countries that observe DST had test scores two percentage points lower than states/countries that don’t observe DST. Two points may not seem like much, unless you want your child to go to a top-notch school, in which case it totally does mean a lot.
4. More car accidents happen: A lack of an hour or two (or more) of sleep can be dangerous on the road. In the spring, there’s a 17 percent increase in accidents after DST is in effect.
5. It’s money we won’t get back: In 2010, Chmura Economics & Analytics found that in terms of accidents, lost productivity, heart attacks and such, DST cost our economy over $400 million, and the costs won’t be any better in years to come.
Taking all of this into account, we need to end daylight savings time, and we need to end it as soon as possible.
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