At 2 a.m. on Nov. 1, our clocks fell back an hour. Daylight savings time had ended and we all got an extra hour of sleep. Who would not want that? Well, maybe it would have been better if the clocks did not fall back at all. Daylight saving time has always been a topic of debate.
Should we keep it or should we toss it? Some countries do not use daylight savings time at all, but the United States has used it since 1918 and every state with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii still practice it.
Let’s first look at why we even started daylight savings in the first place. In the United States, daylight savings was initially introduced in 1918 during World War I in order to conserve more energy. The thought was that this would make people want to be outside more at night when it was sunny rather than staying in the house with the lights on.
Americans brought back daylight savings time during World War II and it has been here in one form or another since then. Some argue that there are benefits to keeping daylight savings. These include that when we “spring forward” there is an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. This extra hour of sun can be good for those who have trouble seeing at night while driving in the dark.
The extra sunlight is said to have reduced pedestrian fatalities while driving by 13% during dawn and dusk, according to timeanddate.com. The website also said there was a 7% decrease in robberies at night after we would “spring” forward.
In relation to detriments associated with daylight saving, some people argue that it can disrupt people’s biological clocks and circadian rhythm. Timeanddate.com said the beginning of daylight saving time can produce some negative health effects. Heart attacks, suicide and even miscarriages have been reported.
Daylight savings also pushes the sunrise back later in the morning, which is something that some people do not like. I have heard some parents do not like this because it means that their children will have to stand outside in the dark while waiting for the school bus in the morning.
Personally, I think that there are many benefits to keeping daylight savings time year-round and not switching back to standard time in the fall.
I believe that it would improve productivity and alertness because it would allow people to enjoy doing outdoor activities in the evening rather than just sitting inside on the couch watching TV. The reduction in fatalities and crime that I mentioned are also good reasons to keep daylight savings year-round as well as the improvement of mental health that comes with sunnier evenings.
At least we all got an extra hour of sleep on Sunday, but maybe daylight savings year-round would benefit us more.