Does Daylight Savings Time Really Accomplish Anything? Well…
This weekend, we will all try to remember to set our clocks back (most of our digital devices do it themselves, including our on-air computerized satellites and delivery systems at our radio stations). But does Daylight Savings Time really do us any good?
Back in the origins of the idea (It dates back to 1908 when Canada and Germany were the first to implement it), it actually had some validity. According to timeanddate.com, it allowed agricultural workers in the spring, summer and early fall to get in hour's extra work-increased daylight.
The offset was you had to turn the clocks back in the fall. Originally it was thought more sunlight would save energy. That argument is still used by some, who say fewer lights are used in homes and buildings. But does it work? Here are some of the pros and cons of the idea:
- Pro: Longer evenings. Kids can stay up later, which they love. Some say it motivates people to get out of the house, more activity, less energy usage.
- Con: With today's digital lifestyle, it's a wash. Studies show people actually use MORE energy, due to staying up later and watching TV, cellphones and laptops.
- Pro: More healthy, because less artificial light. We've all heard the arguments about how indoor lighting (especially flourescent) isn't good for you. People out in real daylight more etc.
- Con: DST can actually make people sick. This might sound like a stretch, but studies have linked glitches in some people's circadian (body) rhythms. And reportedly, more car accidents, workplace injuries, suicides and even miscarriages occur resulting from lack of sleep due to DST.
- Pro: Studies show the increased daylight results in fewer car crashes, and many crime rates (especially burglaries) drop due to longer days. Crime rates go down in many communities.
- Con: It costs more money. It costs more money to build in DST programming and conversions into computer systems so they will adjust on their own. And, worker and general productivity drops, say studies, after we turn our clocks ahead in the spring.
So, it appears that just like gaining an hour of sleep in the fall, and losing it in the spring, Daylight Savings Time is just a big wash.