It’s high time to do away with daylight saving time.
Sure, waking up on Nov. 1 after getting an extra hour of sleep is a wonderful way to start the week. But I’d give up those 60 minutes of slumber in a heartbeat if it meant we weren’t subjected to total darkness at 6 p.m. every day until March.
I’m not alone in my disgruntlement. In 2017, 74% of Americans were in favor of ditching the biannual time change. Arizona and Hawaii have nixed daylight saving time in order to maximize the cooler temperatures that come with nightfall in the summer months. The European parliament has voted to allow member states to decide for themselves if they want to remain on “permanent summer” or “permanent winter” time.
While “springing ahead” every March means more hours of daylight throughout the warmer months, the negative aspects of changing our clocks twice a year far outweigh the benefits.
The energy-conserving basis of daylight saving policies simply doesn’t hold true in today’s world. Benjamin Franklin satirically proposed that people adjust their schedules to maximize sunlight during the summer months instead of wasting tallow and wax on burning candles in the evenings in the name of economic efficiency. The founding father also suggested cannon fire as an efficient communal alarm clock, which hardly seems like a budget-friendly idea.
But after Germany put daylight saving policy in effect during World War I as a way to reduce the demand for electricity so that more coal could be put forth towards the war effort, other nations followed.
Post-war legislature has rationalized that daylight saving time can save thousands of barrels of oil each for every additional day observing the time change. But there has been little empirical evidence to back this claim. When researchers studied Indiana – a state with a mixture of counties that observe daylight savings and some that don’t – they found that in the counties that observed daylight saving, there was a 1% overall increase in electricity demand, a statistically significant amount.
Despite the common belief that daylight saving time benefits the agricultural industry, farmers in the United States opposed the original implementation during World War I. Their days revolve around the rising and setting of the sun, not the time, and the clock-changing measures only disrupted their routines. Agricultural groups fought to appeal the time change in 1919. Over time, the retail and recreational industries have benefited from daylight saving, not our farmers and ranchers.
On an individual level, “springing ahead” has some pretty bleak consequences on our health. The Monday after daylight saving begins has been linked to a 24% increase in heart attacks, compared to the 21% decrease the day after it ends. The hour of sleep we lose has also been tied to a temporary increase in fatal car crashes, workplace injuries and suicides.
Given how unhelpful daylight saving has been, I see no reason for states to hold onto this unnecessary practice. And since nine states have proposed legislation to permanently adopt standard time, I’m certainly not alone in thinking that.
Chloe Herbert is a freshman history major. Reach her at email@example.com.