Should We Scrap Time Change?

Michelle Lu's picture

Did you know that the custom of turning our clocks an hour ahead during the year first originated in World War I?

It’s true! By making the days “longer,” the goal was for households to conserve the usage of electricity costs and other forms of energy like fuel. 

Recently, however, the US Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The bill must also go through the House of Representatives before it can be signed by President Joe Biden. If passed, Daylight Saving Time (DST) could become permanent year-round starting in 2023.

How Effective Has DST Been?

Although the specific dates of the time change differ, many countries around the world observe a biannual system of time.

From mid-March to November in the U.S., most states practice DST by turning the time forward by an hour from the Standard Time (ST), the local time observed in an area. 

Though the original purpose of DST was to encourage the conservation of energy, multiple studies suggest that the time shift has not made a significant impact on saving energy costs. While less money is spent on electricity, costs are still likely to rise with the usage of devices such as the air conditioner and computers. 

Research conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has shown that DST time changes lead to a greater risk of obesity, heart problems, mood disorders, and road accidents. 

The Debate

More than 60% of Americans in favor of getting rid of the biannual time changes. However, many remain divided over settling on DST permanently over ST. 

Those in favor of the Sun Protection Act argue that because DST maximizes daylight, it encourages safety by lowering crime rates and reducing seasonal depression. DST provides more waking time to enjoy with families and friends, or even to get more work done. 

However, sleep experts believe that the legislation should instead choose ST. According to researchers, ST is much more closely related to the body’s circadian rhythm which regulates our organ functions as well as our sleep-wake cycle. By permanently living in DST, children would have to get up and be in school, long before the sun rises -- which could be 9 am in Seattle and other western states! This lack of morning light can be unhealthy for the mind and body. Many are concerned that the chronic effects of DST have not been deeply studied. 

The bill is certainly a hot topic of discussion, but one thing is for sure: everyone is in favor of getting rid of the biannual time switch.

What do you think - should we keep DST or ST as our permanent time?

Sources: Washington Post, Reuters, NIH.gov, Euronews

Comments

mackinstudent's picture
mackinstudent March 24, 2022 - 10:35am
Stick with ST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!