Photo Credit: AARP

Daylight Savings Time should become permanent (Op-Ed)

Each year, the nation realizes, prepares for, and ultimately complains about the biannual adjustment of clocks- otherwise known as the “fall back” and “spring forward” associated with Daylight Savings Time. 

First implemented in World War One, DST has a long, complex, and varied history in the U.S. Although DST was initially adapted to conserve energy and increase productivity during periods of wartime, it’s quite obvious that the economic and social conditions that may have necessitated a switch away from it to standard time at not one, but several points in history are no longer relevant. In Hawai’i, Arizona, the Navajo Nation and the American territories, there is no biannual time switch, allowing for less disruption to the workforce, natural day-to-day life, and lifestyle adjustments for its citizens and members. 

Simply put, the nation is no longer in a period of heightened economic production, nor is our workforce made up of agricultural contributors that would benefit from early mornings and darker evenings associated with Standard Time.

With an increase in vehicle accidents, depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, and mood disturbance that occurs during the November shift to Standard Time, it seems quite obvious that eliminating the jumping clocks and sticking with DST year-round is what is in the country’s best interests. Gaining one singular hour of sleep during one night in November is hardly worth the several weeks of mid-afternoon sunsets, full days in darkness or artificial light, depending on your work or academic schedule, and reduced daily free time as darkness induces sleepiness, along with the hesitation to go outside or participate in the same social or recreational activities that one may do with more light in the evenings. 

 Although people tend to lament the loss of an hour of sleep in March, it is a small price to pay for an expedited gain of daylight that is already kicked off by the winter solstice in December. With most of the nation gaining around a minute to two minutes of daylight a day, the switch to DST in March instantaneously adds another hour of light to the evenings that influences the attitudes and mental states of millions of individuals around the nation. 
With seasonal affective disorder (SAD) rampant during the winter months, this is a crucial transition allowing for increased sunlight and better weather to have an enormous impact on an individual’s mood, mental health, and productivity.

It’s time that the House of Representatives prioritize the Sunshine Protection Act of 2022 and implement permanent DST nationwide.

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