Changing Times


Daylight Saving Time is an antiquated tradition that has no place in the 21st century. We all know the familiar discomfort in the weeks following the transition as our bodies try to calibrate to the new sleep schedule.
DST was first created in 1908, however, the idea only caught on globally in 1916, during World War One, when Germany chose to implement DST to save energy spent on artificial lighting. Nowadays, however, the decreased energy consumption, the main selling point of DST, is not nearly as influential. As phones, cars, computers, and a slew of other technologies become increasingly prevalent, the power consumed by lights and other night-related technologies is becoming insignificant when compared to the billions of other technologies running 24/7.
In fact, a government report in 2008 concluded that the electrical savings that can be attributed to daylight savings only amounted to about 0.03% of the total national electricity consumption in the United States.
Multiple studies have also proven that daylight savings’ accompanying sleep deprivation can lead to both mental and physical problems. During the first few weeks after the clocks shift forward, the internal body clock, called the circadian rhythm, is forced to reset to account for the time change. This leads to a person going to sleep at what their circadian rhythm tells them is right, but waking up when their alarm clock goes off.
For example, in order to get to school at 8:25, I wake up at 7:00 and typically go to sleep at 11:00 PM, so I would normally wake up on 8 hours of rest. However, when the clocks are pushed forward, my circadian rhythm will keep me from sleeping until the normal time, which would now be 12:00. Then, the alarm clock forces me to wake up at 7:00, but to the body, it still feels like 6:00, reducing my sleep by an hour, and making me more tired in the morning.
Multiple medical journals have shown that in the weeks following the transition, car accidents, heart attacks, and workplace injuries increased in frequency and severity. This also is accompanied by mental health effects, such as an 8% increase in diagnoses of depression, and an Australian study even showed an increase in male suicide rates in the weeks following DST.
These effects are particularly dangerous for teens and people in school. Teenagers are already under large amounts of mental stress, and the added increase in depression to an already vulnerable group can be especially dangerous. The feelings of sleepiness are also exacerbated in teenagers, whose internal body clocks often cause them to go to sleep and wake up later. While these effects aren’t unique to teenage students, the early morning schedule combined with the late night sleep pattern and the fragile mental stage of many leads to a group that is very sensitive to change.
If you are beginning to question the necessity of daylight savings, you are not alone. Currently, less than 40% of countries have this time-switch. At least 140 countries have used DST at some point, but in this day and age, there is little positive impact of DST. Even in America, 15 states have gotten rid of daylight savings, and Washington is among the many other states trying to follow suit. The only indisputable significant benefit of DST is an hour more time in daylight, but does this extra hour really justify the depression, workplace injuries, car accidents, heart attacks, and suicides that also come with DST? If you don’t think the hour is justified, you’d be on the side of over 60% of countries worldwide, and seven out of every 10 Americans.