Should we do away with daylight saving time?


Fact Box

  • Although often credited with inventing the idea of daylight saving time, Benjamin Franklin, in 1784, mentioned the notion of “diminishing the cost of light” in a satirical open letter to the citizens of Paris. He was not serious about it. 
  • Daylight saving time was first made into law in Germany in 1916 to conserve electricity during WWI. 
  • Hawaii and Arizona are the only US States that do not observe daylight saving time. 
  • According to a recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine online survey, 63% of Americans favor doing away with daylight saving time. 

Sara (No)

While many people find it a nuisance to change the clocks twice every year, the benefits of daylight saving time (DST) by far outweigh the minor disruptions. Switching to DST helps to improve our mental and physical health by giving us more daylight hours for outdoor work, play, and economic activity. The health benefits of sunlight in boosting our vitamin D levels and helping to reduce the impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)--popularly known as the Winter Blues--are well known and accepted by the medical community.

DST gives us more hours of daylight activity, which makes for safer streets and homes. Because most crime happens after dark, switching to DST reduces crime. A 2015 report by the Brookings Institute cited a study showing that the shift to DST in the spring leads to a 7% drop in daily crime on average.

DST also boosts economic activity, which is why so many retail industries support it. Having an extra hour of daylight in the evening gives people time after work for shopping, dining, exercise, and sports. Some industries, like tourism, are so much in favor of DST that they would like to make it year-round instead of setting back the clocks in the fall. 

Industries like golf and BBQ manufacturers lobbied Congress to extend DST by another month, which it did in 2007. Likewise, candy manufacturers supported the extension of DST to November, because it would give kids an extra hour of trick-or-treating at Halloween. 

Health benefits, reduced crime, and financial gains make supporting daylight saving time a win-win proposition.  

Louis (Yes)

Daylight saving time [DST] is an outdated concept and no longer serves much purpose in modern civilization. The original rationale behind this terrible tradition was to allow there to be more sunlight, thus saving on fuel (for the war effort). Nowadays, not only is our military self-sufficient, but it uses fuels 24/7. If anything, for this reason, DST contributes to more energy being used. 

DST has been interfering in the sleep-schedule of Americans for generations. However, many of the negative impacts of this have only come to light in the past 10-20 years. According to the Air Transport Association, the move to extend DST by four weeks cost the airline industry $150 million in 2007 due to confusing schedules, missing pilots and attendees, delayed flights, and having to adjust to countries not participating in DST. This cynical example of the destruction DST is capable of tells a much broader story of its meaninglessness. 

Aside from financial losses, the negatives of DST include an increase in the average fatality of car accidents by 6%, attributable to deprivation of sleep and the mental mishaps that ensue. Dr. Till Roenneberg, a renowned expert in human sleep, denounced DST, saying that the human biological clock does not adjust well to it. This may explain why so many feel fatigued and have a lack of motivation on the day after DST begins. 

Additionally, a study that exposed how the risk of a heart attack increases 24% on the Monday following the spring time change further illustrates DST's adverse effects on human health. 

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