Reign of daylight saving time may soon come to an end

At 2 a.m. on Nov. 2, daylight saving time will end for the year, and people across the country will shift their clocks back one hour to standard time, gaining a much-welcomed extra hour.

Chemical engineering junior Elijah Hankins said he thinks many college students like himself appreciate the extra hour to catch up on lost sleep.

“(With) an hour back, I feel like there’s like more sleep time,” Hankins said. “I think college kids … are kind of sleep-deprived if you’re involved with stuff and trying to keep up with school, so if there’s more sleep time, it really helps you out.”

However, this shift can also cause a lot of confusion and disruption, leading to increased dissatisfaction with the practice of daylight saving time.

An annual survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that this year only 33 percent of American adults think changing the clocks for daylight saving time is worth the hassle. 48 percent do not think it is worth the effort, and 19 percent are not sure.

Besides the simple aggravation of shifting the clocks and adjusting to the schedule changes, the shift can lead to drowsiness and resulting health problems when clocks go forward an hour in the spring and people lose an hour of vital sleep.

Reuters reported that, likely owing to sleep deprivation and disruption of biological rhythms, a study found that the risk of heart attack increases by 25 percent on the Monday immediately following the clock change.

Even after the initial sudden disruption, health problems can accumulate throughout daylight saving time. Daylight saving time takes the extra daylight gained by earlier sunrises and later sunsets in the summer away from the mornings and adds it to the evenings.

Though this allows for more outdoor activities in the evenings, Tim Roenneburg — who is a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany — told National Geographic that the natural light in the mornings is just as crucial to maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm. The unnaturally late sunsets caused by daylight saving time delay sleeping schedules and leave the body out of sync with optimal circadian sleep periods.

“The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness and is just plain tired,” Roenneburg said.

In addition to the negative impact on health, several groups have long opposed changing the clocks, including a number of religions that follow the sunrise and sunset for prayer or fasting times regardless of the time of day and object to the disturbance of religious practices.

Parents of school-aged children have also expressed concerns about the late sunrises causing children to be out in dark streets waiting for the school bus or walking to school in the morning. Parents were especially worried after 2008’s extension of daylight saving time by one month cut even further into the school year.

Many members of the agriculture industry, especially dairy farmers, also complain about daylight saving time because the farm animals cannot easily adjust to the sudden schedule change. Farm hands also arrive an hour later, delaying farm work such as grain harvesting that needs to be done immediately at sunrise.

Despite this, it has become a common misconception among Americans that daylight saving time was introduced to help farmers. Farming lobbyist groups were the loudest voice of dissent when daylight saving time was first instituted during World War I year-round in an effort to reduce energy costs by using natural light rather than artificial light in the evenings.

Opposition from farmers led to the practice being repealed shortly after the war, but it was brought back during World War II. After the end of that war, most states continued having daylight saving time during the summer months.

Recent research has found even if it may have worked originally, nowadays daylight saving time no longer accomplishes its primary purpose of conserving energy. Even though more natural daylight in the evening reduces indoor lighting costs, it also makes it warmer, leading to increased air conditioning costs, which actually uses more energy that lighting. This added electricity consumption not just cancels out but also entirely outweighs any benefits of daylight saving time.

Fortunately, many governments have proposed a return to yearlong standard time. This year, Russia got rid of daylight saving time.

According to the Washington Post, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are considering joining the two other states, Arizona and Hawaii, which do not utilize the practice.

With all the opposition to daylight saving time and evidence that not only is it ineffective in its original goal but also has negative effects on health, it is only a matter of time before other regions follow suit.

Opinion columnist Eileen Holley is an English literature senior and may be reached at [email protected]


    • Speaking as a programmer, it is actually quite a pain to account for daylight savings time “automatically.” There are a number of common security holes in software that are often left open because of accounting for daylight savings time using lazy coding.

      Also, there’s always the question of whether something changes automatically or not; among the 7ish clocks in my house, only 3 change automatically, and i always forget which ones, so I cannot depend on them for alarms twice a year.

      • Precisely. And that doesn’t even take into account that daylight saving time starts and ends on different dates in various countries around the world. For someone who’s traveling a lot, that means even more hassle.

        • I’m surprised the number is that low. When I add up the number of devices which store date and time in my home, including security cameras, clocks, watches, digital cameras, digital tape recorders, car audio systems, coffee maker, oven, microwave, weather stations, etc., the number of devices in my home which require a time change easily exceeds 40. It usually takes me 2 or 3 weeks to find and change them all. Only about 1/3 of those automatically update for DST, and a couple still use the old system before DST standards were changed last decade. It’s an unnecessary pain. It’s time to end it.

      • I can see your struggle, however speaking as a 13 year old myself, it is very nice to be able to catch up on sleep. Most nights I will stay up until 12:00 to 1:00 trying to finish my homework, projects, or even just studying for a major exam. plus I play hardcore soccer which impacts my schedule pretty harshly sometimes. It’s nice to get a little extra sleep once in a while, even if it is only one hour. I do so many other activities and so do all of my siblings, and that’s saying a lot.

  • About time! But I’m sure there will be politicians against this logical elimination of daylight savings time. After all, they cannot have mere groundlings questioning their august wisdom now can they? What else might the hoi polloi question? A brother-in-law or cousin getting a special grant from the government to study snail darters? An exemption from some law everyone else has to follow, however illogical?

  • Get rid of it already. It’s neither natural nor desirable to have bright daylight at 4 a.m. or at 9 p.m. in the summer.

  • Finally! I have been disturbed by this useless practice my entire life. Let’s abolish “Daylight Saving Time!”

  • “Parents of school-aged children have also expressed concerns about the
    late sunrises causing children to be out in dark streets waiting for the
    school bus or walking to school in the morning.”
    This is an unseen
    expense of government-run schools, funded by money forced out of the
    hands of the rightful owners who earned it. Government bureaucrats
    dictate the whole family’s schedule: when to rise, when to go on
    vacation, when to sleep. You cannot accept overnight shift employment
    because you cannot leave you kid at school at the government-dictated
    hour. Other harassment include letting telemarketers bother night shift
    workers at noon, but forbidding them to bother day shift workers at
    midnight. Construction noise all day when night shift workers are trying
    to sleep is a violation of their rights, as much as if it was midnight
    and they were assaulting day-shift workers with the noise. Government
    has no right to dictate our schedules.

  • Standard time has much more daylight in the early am hours and darkness comes earlier. I’d much rather have the extra daylight in the afternoon/evening hours as I do a lot of outdoor activity after work. Why don’t we just keep “daylight savings time” permanent instead of Standard time?

  • My waveceptor watch automatically resets itself nightly to WWVB signals so it is right, to the second. I keep it on 24-hour time (It is 14:48:10 EDT now) and I keep all my computers on UTC which leads to some interesting results when websites are not ready for that.

  • All of you, do the sensible thing, and move to Arizona. LOL Except for the Navajo reservation, we in Arizona never have to deal with all this confusion, except when using the telephone, and remembering what time it is elsewhere.

  • Love it. Not a morning person. Must people argue and debate everything?

    P.s. please proof. Credibility goes down.

  • year round standard time is the way to go…… seemed like the year and seasons were more balanced back in the 80s when April sunset times were equal to those in late September/early October…nowadays it feels like people’s expectations of spring is “pre-summer” as the sun is setting at 8:30 2 months before the official start of summer…

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