By: Addison Strack
Daylight savings is when the clocks are set forward one hour in the spring, and back one hour in the fall.
The idea of daylight savings was introduced to the United States in the World War l era as an effort to conserve fuel. The idea was that Americans wouldn’t have to turn their lights on early in the day, therefore saving energy.
Businesses, sports, and recreation industries were in favor of the idea. This was because it allowed an extra hour of shopping in the daylight, and later start times of games, boosting attendance. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act made it US policy to have six months of daylight savings time, and six months of standard time.
In December of 1973, during an energy crisis, President Nixon signed a law bill for year round daylight savings, in hopes of reducing energy consumption. After only a month, concerns were raised in some states, as the safety of children was compromised because of daylight savings time. Children walking to school before dawn became involved in car accidents due to the lack of light. Eventually daylight savings became known as “Daylight Disaster Time.”
More people began questioning the benefit of daylight savings time, because the Western part of the time zone was using more electricity for the extra hour of darkness in the morning. The experiment of having daylight savings year round was supposed to last two years, but ended up only lasting eight months, when the clocks were set back to standard time in the fall of 1974.
Years later, in 1986, the US began seven months of daylight savings time once again. Since 2007, daylight savings time has been expanded to eight months from March to November.
Daylight savings time has always had its flaws, but recently, these flaws have been more noticeable. The loss of sleep, even if only an hour, can disrupt sleeping patterns. This can cause irritability, mood instability, and an increased risk of accidents while driving with a lack of sleep. Changes in sleeping patterns also affect children, because the younger a child is, the more sleep they require. Changing their sleep schedule can disrupt cognitive development that takes place during sleep.
People who struggle with seasonal depression, which is a depression that happens due to the darkness of winter months, are also heavily impacted. This is because of the loss of morning sunlight that can take up to a month to increase with the arrival of spring.
It was also discovered that daylight savings time costs more money, and may require more energy depending on where you live in the US.
Due to all of the reasons listed, as well as many more, the US Senate approved a bill to end daylight savings time in 2023. It is called “The Sunshine Protection Act”, and it still has to be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be signed by President Joe Biden.
Overall, daylight savings was a complicated process that ended up having more cons than pros.
If you would like to read more about daylight savings, feel free to check out the websites listed below.