Last Sunday, we all enjoyed an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of staying up (depending on how you look at it) thanks to Daylight Savings Time (DST) ending. However, do we need to change our clocks twice a year in 2023? I don’t think so.
The first person to propose the concept we change time depending on the time year was Benjamin Franklin, although the concept was formally introduced by a New Zealander scientist named George Hudson in 1895.
The first nation to adopt DST was Germany in 1916 during World War I. Their reasoning: to save fuel. The United States introduced DST in 1918 for similar reasons after their entrance into World War I. After the war ended, DST varied by region until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Today, every state except Arizona and Hawaii follow DST.
Proponents of DST argue that changing the clocks actually saves energy. However, the evidentiary data is not clear. A meta-analysis of electricity consumption found a 0.3% reduction in electricity use per day that DST was in effect.
The primary explanation for energy saving DST was so that we have more daylight in the evening hours and thus use less electricity during the evening.
However, most households use LED lights instead of incandescent lights that use a fraction of the energy.
While we enjoy the extra hour to sleep in every fall, the worst part of DST comes in March when we lose an hour of sleep. Not only is it unpleasant, but a 2014 study recorded a 24% increase in heart attacks reported in Michigan hospitals the Monday after DST began from 2010 to 2013.
The call to end DST, or rather, to make DST permanent is not new. In 1974, Congress passed a bill allowing for DST to remain through the winter as a trial-run of year round DST. Most of the public opposed year round by springtime.
Since 1974, most countries have stopped using DST. Last year, nearly all of Mexico stopped switching clocks. Some of the largest countries: Brazil, India, Russia and China all ceased DST. Only the US, Canada, Western Europe and a few scattered countries continue to adhere to DST.
Even if the sun would rise an hour later during the winter, which for Vermillion would be 8:55 a.m. on Dec. 21, we still have the same amount of daylight regardless of what time zone we’re in.
If I wanted a time change, I would go on vacation. Maybe I would visit Hawaii and not worry about the time changing twice a year on a random Sunday.
Considering the trials and hardships humanity has faced over the last thousand years or so, I think we are resilient enough to keep the same time zone during winter as during summer.