Spring Forward or Fall Back? Daylight Saving Time Hindering or Helping Society

At six years old, you overhear your parents talk about an extra hour of sleep. You’re overjoyed – this is a dream come true. Now, when you hear that the clock loses an hour and clocking out from work appears just that much later, this dream turns into a nightmare.

Daylight saving time illustrates a period between March and November where the clock effectively moves backward an hour, while it moves forward an hour after November. This practice spawned after World War I as a way to conserve energy and fuel, which were in deep scarcity afterward.

“Daylight savings is beneficial as it grants people an extra hour to sleep,” sophomore Sophia Portillo said. “However it’s not worth it in the end because when the time changes back an hour it just makes it more difficult for people to adjust to. Even though many countries still use it, I feel as if we had a steady schedule year round we would be better off.” 

Though for many Benjamin Franklin holds the credit for the creation of the practice, he only penned a satirical essay about waking up earlier in the day in 1784 after being woken up by the strong Parisian sun.

“One way it could be seen as helpful is by turning back the clock,” Jeff Bixby, GT-AP World History, and AP Government and Politics teacher, said. “We are getting a little more exposure to the sun at a time of the year when days are getting shorter and as a result there is a greater susceptibility to conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder.”

Daylight saving time affects around 1.6 billion people, and due to the time shift, there has seemingly been a link between the practice and adverse mental effects. According to the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, when the clocks switch forward there shows an 11% increase in depression.

“Daylight savings most likely has a negative effect on society,” Portillo said. “Because if people are not adjusted and getting a steady amount of sleep, their everyday lives can be extremely affected. An hour seems extreme to blame for this, but when people have a lack of sleep or get too much sleep, it affects their driving, mood, level of creativity, and motivation to complete tasks which can be linked to lower productivity.” 

Though the United States technically observes the practice, there are some exceptions like Hawaii and Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and U.S. Territories such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and others. The closer to the equator, the less a state needs to shift its time due to the lack of change between seasons.

“I believe the purpose of daylight savings is to simply just to take advantage of sunlight,” Portillo said. “And to make better use of it throughout the day, however, I don’t believe that there is another reason behind it.”

In 1966, the U.S. enacted a law that allowed states to opt-out of the practice, and many have pushed their states to stop doing it. The University of California performed a study on Indiana after its change to incorporate the practice and found that 1% more energy is being used after the clocks are changed, hindering its initial purpose.

“I do not think we should keep it,” Portillo said. “Especially after all the negative impacts, it can have on society as a whole. It would be best to stick to a year-round schedule to ensure that people are getting a steady amount of sleep and to prevent the shift which causes unadjusted scheduling and sleep deprivation throughout the day.”

By Ethan Everman, Staff Writer

Featured photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

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