Serena RodriguezNevaresExpos 1; Period 215 December 2017It’s About TimeTwice a year, we Americans wake up disoriented and sleep-deprived as we shuffle around the house changing clocks, thermostats, and microwaves. We mutter to ourselves about this insane ritual known as daylight saving times or DST. Americans, myself included, complain and question this absurd changing of the clocks for it disturbs our normal sleep schedules, routines, health, and overall sanity. DST can be attributed to Germany during WWI where they began this process to save fuel and increase work light.
This inspired the U.S. to officially adopt DST in 1966. It was then revised in 2005 so that DST lasted from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November. Congress extended the length of DST in hopes of conserving energy and helping the economy. However, exchanging our regular sleep cycles and health to better the economy can be a costly trade, but there is an alternative option: keep DST year round. If DST was kept year round, the time that we change our clocks to in the spring would continue and we would not “fall back” into standard time.
Permanent DST would erase the problems associated with the changing of clocks while simultaneously keeping the benefits that come with it. The extra hour of daylight after work from permanent DST would reduce the use of electricity versus the current time change in the fall. The cost of electricity would decrease, and according to the U.S Department of Energy, we would “save approximately 0.5% of electricity per day for the country…enough energy to power 100,000 households for a year” (Yates).
On a nationwide scale, this decrease in energy saves money and decreases pollution; meanwhile, individuals reduce expenses. The additional daylight after work not only ensures a conservation of electricity, but also provides the opportunity to enjoy extra daylight outside. Adjusting time twice a year hinders our biological cycles and correspondingly increases the amount of fatal accidents in the spring. The U.
S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration asserts that ” deadly accidents jumped to an average of 83.5 …
compared with an average of 78.2 on a typical Monday” (Resnick). One less hour of sleep dulls drivers focus and induces an irregular routine. Additionally, “a recent study shows the switching of clocks in the spring causes a 25% jump in heart attacks in the few days following the switch” (Yates). It can be speculated that the combination of the lack of sleep and change in routine can generate stress which can jolt the elderly and those ridden with heart disease into a heart attack. Therefore, DST not only affects people’s health the first Monday morning, but can take a prolonged toll. Evidently, by eliminating these time shifts we would be able to save hours of sleep and save lives.
As an already sleep deprived high school student, changing my body’s sleep routine has led to myself having to compensate during other times. By the time I get home from school the sun sets quickly, and the darkness makes me feel fatigued by 5:00 P.M.
By the time I get accustomed to standard time during the winter, four months fly by and the readjusting recommences. In the spring, the newly darkened mornings deceive me into thinking I have hours left of sleep when in fact I have school in thirty minutes. This continues cycle of irregularity and readjusting has made me, and thousands of other Americans, question the system that interferes with our routines. Farmers have been known to consistently oppose DST for this reason. According to Stromberg, they have opposed DST since the idea circulated in 1918; however, at that time farmers were 30 percent of the U.S. population while today they make up around 2 percent (Stromberg).
Evidently, we are currently running on a system that is composed of several negatives and only a few positives, with the positives only benefiting a small proportion of our population. With the decreasing amount of farmers and the increasing opposition to DST, it possible for all farmers to experience the benefits of DST the same way as everyone else if they readjusted their work schedule around the sun. In contrast to the complexity of the time shifts, permanent DST can be initiated nationwide with a simple act from Congress, just like how it was initiated in the first place. According to Siciliano, an energy reporter, last year “California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Washington introduced bills to make the spring forward permanent with no falling back” (Siciliano). The idea of permanent DST is not new, and since many states are pushing towards this change it is possible and necessary. Hence, by talking to our local representatives, signing petitions, and spreading this idea, Americans can press snooze on this time-consuming time change.