By Priya Shah (’22)
On Sunday, you probably woke up feeling really refreshed. Why? You got the benefit of sleeping in an hour because Daylight Savings Time has come to an end. This is a practice in which clocks are pushed ahead one hour in order to allow daylight to last longer, hence “saving daylight”. It starts every year in March and ends in November. So why do we follow it in the first place? Daylight Savings Time was implemented for for people to be able to utilize the natural sunlight for longer.
George Hudson, a scientist from New Zealand, came up with the concept of Daylight Savings Time. Originally, he wanted Daylight Savings to push the clocks forward 2 hours and then back 2 hours in fall. However in 1895, when he showcased his idea, it was never implemented. Later, William Willet, a builder from Great Britain, reintroduced the idea and advocated for it consistently. Eventually, it was accepted, and Daylight Savings Time was put into practice. DST is observed all around the world. Most of the US, Europe, and some parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia follow Daylight Savings Time.
While we all love an extra hour of sleep, and somewhat tolerate losing an hour every year, it does have an impact on our bodies. A change in our sleep schedule can impact our overall health and mental performance the days following DST. Studies show that many adults have trouble at work, as well as driving. In March, when we lose an hour of sleep, studies also indicate that the rate of car accidents increases, creating a huge safety risk for drivers and pedestrians alike. This is one reason why many people are opposed to Daylight Savings Time. The controversy over DST has sparked many conversations of ending it. A recent survey shows that 7 out of 10 residents in the US want to stop Daylight Savings Time. Many people believe that it messes up daily routines, along with the health risks. On the other hand, many politicians have advocated to keep DST going throughout the entire year, instead of losing an hour, and then regaining it in fall. They believe that this will allow light to remain throughout the entire year. Many argue that it also conserves electricity, since natural light will be prevalent for most of the day. Both of these arguments are very strong, but it is difficult to determine which one makes more sense in today’s day and age.
Daylight Savings Time was originally put into place for a good reason, but today, many people believe that its costs outweigh its benefits. What do you think? Is the extra hour worth it?