I groggily slipped out of bed to prepare for school on Monday, Mar. 11. I opened the shutters, hoping for a glimmer of sunlight to peer into my darkened room. However, no sunshine was to be found. Then, I remembered.
Dread it, run from it, daylight savings still arrives.
Cursing the US for still practicing this outdated idea, I arrived at PCC, noticing the students around campus seemed to be more lifeless than usual. The chirping of the birds were drowned out by the overly-aggressive honking of sleep deprived college students in the early morn.
Although modern daylight savings (DST) was conceived by astronomer George Hudson, Benjamin Franklin proposed a similar idea nearly 100 years earlier, meant as a joke and penned in a letter to the Journal of Paris and implying lazy Frenchmen may need the extra time. The goal of it, Hudson proposed, was to give people an extra hour of sunlight after work. The idea wasn’t very well received at first since the trouble of shifting around time proved to be too much of a hassle to be worth it.
It wasn’t until 1916, when the German Empire and her ally Austria sought to save fuel for the war effort by moving clocks an hour forward and adding more time for sunlight. The other European countries followed suit soon after, and thus, the world began to use DST.
Although it may have been a smart idea back then, DST is a horribly outdated idea that does more harm than good in the modern world. Not only is energy usage now much more efficient, making the energy saved from DST negligible, but it is a major annoyance and health hazard to many people around the world.
Roughly 40% of the world’s countries participate in DST, meaning 60% of the world is left out and forced to adjust their schedule to befit the other 40%. Things move back and forth not once, but twice a year, further inconveniencing people.
Instead of messing with the clocks two times a year, we should just stick to either daylight savings or standard time for the entire year. DST just causes confusion, an increase in lethargy, car crashes, depression, and is overall just a nuisance to society.
It also meddles with a person’s natural circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is the way your body adjusts your energy levels dependent on the amount of sunlight in the day. Adjusting to a new circadian rhythm takes nearly a week, and makes people more tired than usual. As a result, car crashes and other accidents are more prone to happen following DST.
Studies have also shown that DST increase depression and suicide rates, as well as triggering seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Colloquially known as winter depression, when DST transitions over to standard time during the winter, the amount of sunlight in the day decreases. Sunlight has been shown to have a direct effect on our bodies, mentally and physically, and messing around with how much daylight there is in a day is ill-advised.
“We are relatively certain that it is the transition from daylight saving time to standard time that causes the increase in the number of depression diagnoses and not, for example, the change in the length of the day or bad weather. In fact, we take these phenomena into account in our analyses,” says Søren D. Østergaard, an associate professor from Aarhus University.
Thankfully, we have a way to end it. California proposition 7, or the Permanent Daylight Saving Time Measure, proposes to keep California permanently on DST. If it acquires two-thirds approval from California legislators, it would then be sent to Washington DC for Congress and President Trump to approve. President Trump has already said that he supports permanent DST, which only leaves Congress.
Make your voices heard, end this outdated practice, and give me back my extra hour of sleep.