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Is It Time to End Daylight Saving Time?

I woke up much earlier than normal this morning. Well actually I woke up about the same time, but the clock said it was earlier. It was 5:30 am and I was refreshed and ready to work outside. It was pouring down rain so that plan was squashed, thus I find myself sharing my opinion on the blog. We went through the bi-annual ritual last night of changing all the clocks in the house. What a pain. Do we really still need Daylight Saving Time? What is the point?

The history of DST is interesting. I grew up believing stories that it had something to do with helping farmers with longer days in the summer. But doesn’t that sound like a bunch of BS? That’s because it is. Anyone who’s ever worked on a farm knows you don’t go by the clock – you go by the sun. After all, the animals and plants don’t have alarm clocks!

Others say Benjamin Franklin first conceived of DST. Well Ben, not all of your ideas were good ones.

The real reason DST was started was to help save energy. Congress first enacted DST during World War I to extend the evening hours in the summer time and theoretically save energy. But does it actually work? No it doesn’t. A 2008 U.S. Department of Energy study concluded that the energy savings were very low – about 0.03%. You can read it here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/ba/pba/pdfs/epact_sec_110_edst_report_to_congress_2008.pdf

To make things worse, not all of the United States observes Daylight Saving Time. Arizona and Hawaii don’t, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. How confusing is that?

While the benefits of DST are inconclusive, there is strong evidence that it has negative effects on our health by disrupting our sleep patterns. I concur with this theory, as do most people. Every spring, we “lose” an hour. Who took it? Well actually they just borrow it until we “get it back” in the fall. Every spring, I try to go to bed earlier to minimize the effects but it is easier said than done.

Changing all the clocks is a pain, especially the clocks in the cars. Dealing with the time change on computers used to be a big pain, but that has gotten a little easier. We go through all this trouble for no real benefit. Polls show the percentage of Americans who think we should continue the practice continues to drop. Why do we do this anymore? I for one think it’s time to stop it.

Resources for this post:
History of Daylight Savings Time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_the_United_States
2008 U.S. Department of Energy study: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/ba/pba/pdfs/epact_sec_110_edst_report_to_congress_2008.pdf
Health Impact of Daylight Saving Time: http://www.businessinsider.com/health-effects-of-daylight-saving-time-2014-10

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