Yay Daylight Savings

Isabelle Larabee, Contributing Writer

On March 15th, 2022, the US Senate approved legislation to make year-round daylight saving time (DST) permanent across the country, starting in 2023. Essentially, instead of the twice-a-year clock change, our time would be set one hour ahead of standard time, or “nature’s clock.”

The US has previously attempted to make DST permanent, however, harsh reactions to the time change in 1974 quickly prompted a halt after only one year. Now, each year in November and March, clocks are set backward and forward in hopes to maximize daylight, shifting between DST and standard time. Given DST’s numerous “ pros ” and valuable normality in all of our lives, the DST time shift should absolutely continue to be observed.

Firstly, DST allows for ideal times of sunset up to as late as 8:00PM throughout the spring and summer. More daylight allows people to have more time after school and work, and as a result, motivates people to exercise outdoors. The Mental Health Foundation states that physical activity releases healthy chemicals in your brain, improving self-esteem, sleep, and mental well-being.

DST ensures the improvement of the most fundamental aspects of life.

Additionally, according to a study at Cornell University, natural light reduces symptoms of fatigue by more than 80%, resulting in positive effects on productivity, both physically and mentally. DST also benefits the environment by reducing the use of artificial light that fuels street lights, homes, classrooms, buildings, etc. DST ensures the improvement of the most fundamental aspects of life.

While the proposal for year-round DST is often criticized, year-round standard time has its own disadvantages. Days in the winter feel much shorter due to the loss of sunlight and are often associated with seasonal depression. Psychology Today states that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression caused by the season of the year, is estimated to affect 10 million Americans and requires 6% of those people to be hospitalized, while 10% to 20% of Americans experience milder symptoms of SAD.

The American Automobile Association also found that car accident rates increase significantly after the change to eastern standard time in November. During the summer, standard time would not offer optimal sunrise and sunset times either. The sun would be expected to rise at 4:00 AM in some areas; while early morning runners might enjoy this, the majority of people don’t wake up until 7:00 or 8:00 AM.

Although both DST and standard time have their controversies, having the twice-a-year daylight saving time shift will offer the best solution. Not only does DST help relieve stress and improve mental health, but environmental and safety concerns are also addressed. DST would not only allow us to fully enjoy safe evenings and late sunsets, but also to experience the rest of our lives happily and brightly.

This problem also appears in our April 2022 print edition.