Hollywood, MD – Arguably, the two worst weekends of any year are the ones where we have to recite “spring forward and fall back.” Yep, it’s time to move the clocks ahead or back one hour. My favorite TV weatherman, Doug Hill, revels annually in the fact that there are morons who call this ritual “daylight savings time” rather than the correct “daylight saving time.”
Perhaps, we could add two more good weekends to our year if we left the clocks right where they are all year long. Of course, Doug would have one less thing to talk about.
Truth is, pundits have been clamoring for years—and making pretty good sense—about the need to do away with Daylight Saving Time (DST).
Several years ago Ben Yakis wrote in the Gothamist that “DST was designed to give people more time in sunlight and ostensibly to conserve energy—but many prominent studies have proven we get little if any benefits from the practice. A U.S. Department of Transportation study in the 1970s concluded that total electricity savings associated with DST amounted to about 1 percent in the spring and fall months—and that was offset by the increase in air conditioner use.”
And yes, DST, which even sounds like a dreaded affliction, may not be good for our health. As Jamie Condliffe wrote in Gizmodo, “clock shifts disrupt our circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that, around the times of the spring clock changes, there are spikes in the suicide rates and an increase in the number of recorded heart attacks. In fact, when [the nation of] Kazakhstan ditched DST in 2005, it cited health reasons. Sure it might make you go for an extra jog or two every year, but it might also help contribute to a heart attack. I know which I’d prefer.”
Still, there are DST proponents. In a 2015 article in Money magazine, Ethan Wolff-Mann declared “most people would get more sleep, which would have a huge benefit, prevent workplace accidents and car crashes that result from tired people after a time shift. And since cars hurt more people when it’s dark, having DST all the time would mean that people would enjoy more light for evening drives, which could decrease accidents and save an estimated 366 lives every year. Farmers wouldn’t have to subject cows to an arbitrary change in milking schedule. We’d get more light at a time when we’d more likely use it for something other than sleep.” Wolff-Mann admitted “morning people (whoever they are) might not like the change all that much.”
Another DST defender, Dan Nosowitz, wrote in Popular Mechanics that “in reality, DST is an eight-month experiment designed to make life, well, more pleasurable for humans.” Nosowitz pointed out humans “enjoy many benefits from being awake in the sunshine.” These include more vitamin D, increased exercise, increased socializing and “overall improvements to mental health that come with sunlight.”
Still, the fact that daylight increases as the summer solstice draws near and remains abundant even as it gradually begins to decrease makes you wonder if we really need to mess with our time pieces twice a year.
If you are ready to join the fight to stamp out DST in our lifetime, there is a petition you can sign and send to Congress. The petition sponsored by Petition2Congress states “Please stop messing with our schedules. It’s an antiquated practice that only aggravates people.” So far, over 86,500 have signed.
Until there’s a cure, DST will intrude our lives. That first intrusion occurs the weekend of March 12 -13. Move your clocks ahead one hour Sunday morning at 2 a.m.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org