The Need for Permanent Daylight Saving Time
If you’re tired of adjusting your clocks twice a year, you’re not alone. Daylight saving time has long been a topic of debate, with arguments for and against its continuation. Critics argue that the public only pays attention to this issue for about a week each year when the clocks change. However, research suggests that the negative side effects of daylight saving time should not be taken lightly.
The Downsides of Clock Meddling
Changing the clocks can have several negative effects on our health and daily routines. Even the seemingly beneficial shift in fall, where we gain an hour of sleep, can result in sleep loss and increased risks of inattentive driving. According to sleep expert Adam Spira from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, changing the clocks can lead to acute health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes. Mood disturbances, hospital admissions, and elevated stress responses are also associated with daylight saving time.
A study published in Current Biology found that fatal car crashes increase after the spring forward, highlighting the potential dangers of disrupting our sleep schedules. This disruption can be particularly challenging for parents of children with autism or other disorders that rely on consistent daily routines.
Push for Permanent Daylight Saving Time
The Sunshine Protection Act, sponsored by Vern Buchanan and Marco Rubio, aims to make daylight saving time permanent. Several states, including Utah, have shown interest in this proposal. Utah passed a law in 2020 that would make daylight saving time permanent if Congress allows it and if at least four other Western states follow suit. Currently, federal law only allows states to make standard time permanent, as seen in Arizona and Hawaii.
A Brief History of Changing Times
The concept of daylight saving time emerged during World War I as a way to conserve energy. It gained traction in the United States after the war but became a local option. Congress reinstated uniform time zones in 1966, along with daylight saving time. The nation even observed permanent daylight saving time for a year in 1974 during the oil embargo. Since then, the biannual time change has been a subject of complaint and disagreement.
A Call to End the Nonsense
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that several states have passed bills urging year-round daylight saving time. However, there is still a divide between those in favor of year-round daylight saving time and those in favor of permanent standard time. Last year, a poll conducted by the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics found that 41% of Utahns favored year-round daylight saving time.
The Sunshine Protection Act has gained unanimous approval from the Senate, but the bill has yet to be considered by the House. It’s time for politicians to recognize the importance of choosing a consistent time and sticking with it.
Daylight saving time may seem like a minor inconvenience, but its negative side effects should not be ignored. From sleep disturbances to increased health risks, changing the clocks can have a significant impact on our well-being. The push for permanent daylight saving time continues, and it’s up to lawmakers to prioritize the needs and preferences of the American public.
(Note: The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publication.)