Daylight Saving Time- Is it worth it?

If you are like most people, when you were a kid, daylight saving time was the best. You could run around at night, enjoying the longer days. When summer rolled around, it was even better. No school the next day! The weather was awesome. Do you notice how that all revolves around the “spring forward” part of daylight savings and not the “fall back”.

History of Daylight Saving Time

In 1918, the US first tried the daylight saving time (not a typo, it really is saving, not savings) via the Calder Act. However, within a year, the act was repealed and time went back to the way things were. But starting in 1920, towns and cities all were adopting their own time standards, which as you can image, could really mess with your day if one city you visited was an hour ahead of you, but the one on the other side of that was the same. There was no standardization. Finally in 1966, the US government enacted the Uniform Time Act, which mandated 6 months of Standard Time and 6 months of Daylight Saving Time.

Myths or Things they had hoped for Daylight Saving Time

  1. Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight saving time
    • It turns out this myth started because of satirical piece that he wrote, urging Parisians to adopt an earlier sleeping schedule. It was further continued in one of my favorite movies “National Treasure”.
  2. Daylight Saving Time helps farmers
    • In truth farmers have been vehemently opposing DST since it was first enacted. Their days run on when the sun comes out, so just because you change the time, they still have to feed the animals and do chores according to the consistent schedule. So it made it more expensive and difficult to hire workers.
  3. Extra Daylight is good for our health
    • While Vitamin D (the “Sunshine Vitamin”) is important, the switching back and forth can actually cause health issues. It really is better for our bodies to be on a schedule.
    • 2008 Swedish study in the New England Journal of Medicine found a higher incidence of heart attacks in the first three weekdays after clocks move forward and fall back. 
    • Car crashes also go up after the change.
  4. It helps conserve energy
    • You would think that if it is daylight longer that you wouldn’t use as much energy. But a 2008 study conducted in Indiana found that the implementation of DST had boosted overall energy consumption by one percent. So even if it doesn’t really go up, it definitely isn’t saving.

My Parental Feeling on DST and falling back to Standard Time

I have told you how much I enjoyed getting the most out of the DST when I was little. Even with my kids, it is nice to enjoy the extra light after work. I love getting to cook and even clean up, but still get to play volleyball outside. I don’t mind DST. The switch to Standard time however…

Most US residents, and I am sure that those even more north than us feel the same way, could do with out the switch. Our days get so short during the winter, that if it was dark at 5:30 pm vs. 4:30 pm, I would be much happier. Not to mention the fact that the kids and the dog are out of sorts for about a week after. My brain starts to hurt from trying to calculate what the time will be compared to next week. (I was going to do a whole lot of time comparisons, but I kept getting it wrong, so out it goes.) The dog will want to have earlier. If there is a benefit to Standard Time, it is that it the morning is much brighter when the kids get on the bus because we shift to have darker evenings.

Final Thoughts on DST

I think I could go either way. My main conclusion is that I want it to be one time year round. I don’t like the switching back and forth. How does it work for your family? I know that I am dreading Monday morning.

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