Last weekend, like every first weekend of November, we set our clocks back an hour, possibly for the last time.
In March, just after we “sprung ahead,” the U.S. Senate introduced and unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would place us permanently in daylight savings time.
While this isn’t law quite yet — it still needs to pass through the House and the president — I am wishing for the change. The early darkness is just swallowing. It’s not too bad during the holidays because there’s a lot of fun activities to do at night, typically surrounded by family. But once January rolls around and 5 p.m. hits, it’s pitch black, frigid, snowy and I feel suffocated.
On the other side, I also enjoy the later sunrises. As a night owl with a sleep schedule to match, I enjoy the darkness all throughout my slumber. While I’ll still get showered in sunlight early in the summer, I’ll take this winter win.
I also find the time changes themselves horrible. My body, like most, can’t just randomly take an extra hour of sleep. I can’t really build that extra hour into my day either because it’s at 2 a.m. Instead, I wake up a hour early and scroll on my phone until it’s an acceptable time to start my day.
In the spring, that stolen hour causes noticeable damage. Several sources report an increase of cardiovascular disease and a 24% increase in heart attacks, a 6% increase in fatal injuries, such as car crashes and an 8% increase in stroke rate and several other striking increases. It’s not as simple as just going to bed early to compensate for the loss, either. With something as integral as sleep being affected, it’s time for it to go.
The concept of a daylight savings time is also not a widely observed practice. You have to be positioned rather perfectly for the switch to even partially make sense. Countries seated at the poles don’t observe it because of how little difference it would make to their extended days and nights. Same with countries near the equator, who don’t observe it because of how little their day length actually changes.
While originally implemented in the early 1900s to conserve energy consumption and further cemented by the 1970s energy crisis, people just do not live in the same ways anymore. We want to get off work or get out of class and still have some daylight to spend.
I’m also looking forward to the mood boost. An hour to me makes all the difference. I’m typically getting out of class between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and having just a bit of extra time to enjoy the day before the evening sets in is a luxury I cannot wait to enjoy.
According to a Drive Research study, while more people preferred the spring forward for the daylight it brought as opposed to the reduction from the fall back, 7 in 10 Americans agree with me on this one. Let’s hope that our wish is granted and we gain some wintertime sunshine.