Daylight saving time has been around for almost as long as advanced civilizations have been here, all for the sole reason that people tend to rise with the sun. The body’s natural response is to awaken with the sun, many people view this as a biological clock. With new technology, and an abundance of artificial lighting, many people wonder that if loosing an hour of sleep is still needed? Clearly this is a question that has been asked by many people, including myself, no one likes to wake up in the dark, and lose an hour of sleep. Daylight saving time can cause confusion, accidents, negative psychological effects, and general discomfort. Though it previously made sense to adjust the clocks twice a year, I believe, it is now not necessary to have daylight saving time.
It has long been believed that daylight saving time was created to benefit farmers, that is what I originally believed to be where this policy originated from. Farmers tend to wake up with the sun. their schedules revolve around when the sun rises and sets. The New York Times reports that farmers feel pressured to change their schedules to better accommodate the rest of the population they work with, like businessmen, and the government. This could create strain on the farmers because they have to stay up an extra hour, or get up an extra hour earlier. Vernon points out that this can also mean that farmers are working in the dark. This could mean decreased productivity or the need for lights, which means the farmers are spending more money in order to abide by a system they feel no use for.
The origins of waking up when the sun rises have been seen the beginning of time. From when agriculture originated, people needed the day light hours to farm. It was in London in 1905 when the idea of daylight saving time was first introduced by William Willet (Klein). The sun has always been appreciated because it allows for less time to be spent with candles or electric lighting. Willet had an epiphany about how beautiful natural lighting is, and proposed the idea to parliament, to have the clocks skip ahead 80 minutes between the months of April and October. This was all for the sake of having the opportunity to enjoy the sunlight. The measure was never passed (Klein). The value of sunlight has always been stressed throughout history. It allows for humans to grow food, warm water, and create many items. Even in modern times it has been harnessed and used to create electricity. I prefer reading during the daytime in natural sunlight, then stooped over a book with the harsh glare of artificial lighting over me, straining my eyes. Natural lighting is no comparison to man made options.
Daylight allows for a high yield of productivity. The sunlight is used to naturally awaken the human body. I feel the most productive when I wake up early and start my day. The sun energizes me and makes me feel like I have a lot of time to get my work done, and conquer the day. The reasoning behind why America adopted daylight saving time spurs from this philosophy. In 1918, it became an official law to help with the wartime effort (“Daylight Saving Time.”). It was believed that since people are more productive during the day, then the American government could get more work out of the people when they needed it the most, during war time. This argument is flawed. By this time artificial lighting was used widely throughout the United States, especially in factories. Though lighting does cost money, it is very possible that the time, and money spent lobbying, writing the bill, and implementing it would have cost more than keeping the lights on for an extra hour of the workday. The push to get the whole population of a country to change their clocks was not an easy task. This is why it was abolished after the war. But this did not last long because it was once again established around the time of World War II to exploit American workers to work longer, more strenuous hours (Vernon). There was still much confusion around who was to follow this ruling, and how long it would last.
The confusion surround daylight saving time has been around since it was first adopted in 1918. This can cause disconnect among the country. Since daylight saving time was implemented and repealed and implemented again, some cities, or states would adhere to the rules, but many would also decide for themselves what they wanted to do. This could cause confusion when contacting people in other areas, because though the caller might know the time zone, there was no guarantee that they followed the ever changing daylight saving practices. Daylight savings was created to boost productivity, but this was nearly promised to hinder it. It created much confusion in work places across the country. Time zones were already a fairly new idea, and were difficult enough to memorize, and comprehend. Now people had to remember who abided by daylight saving time, and who did not.
The confusion still lasts today surrounding the times when daylight saving is implemented. I always forget when I must change the clocks. Do I turn the clocks back this time, or move them ahead? Though our phones and computers change automatically many other clocks do not. It takes me days to fix all my clocks, and even when those are done, my body is still not there. Even if I gain an hour of sleep I am still confused with the time differences. Since many people thrive on habit, it can be confusing waking up when it is now dark out. Daylight saving time is one more thing that people have to worry about, but it should not be something that invades our thoughts because it should not exist.
The stock market is directly affected by daylight savings. People’s money is at risk because of the hour change. During daylight savings time it was found that return investments on stock market exchanges were significantly lower than weekends outside of the daylight savings time (Berumet, Dogan, and Onar). The argument that productivity increases with daylight savings is irrelevant. The psychology behind the changes in sleep is to blame for the loss of money in the market. According to Berumet and his colleagues, the, “…anxiety caused by the disruption in sleeping patterns” is to blame for the lower than average returns. When people are not making the money they expect to make, they can become easily anxious and angered. Daylight saving time was originally started to save America money during the war, it is now leading to Americans loosing their own money within Wall Street, because people can become too stressed and unfocused when their normal sleep routine is changed. Daylight saving time is loosing American’s money. People would benefit from the abolishment of daylight saving time.
The shift in time produced by daylight saving time looses people money, but also costs people their lives. Any disruption in someone’s sleep patterns can have detrimental affects. It has been concluded by Varughese and Allen that there have been, “… a significant increase in accidents for the Monday immediately following the spring shift to DST. There was also a significant increase in number of accidents on the Sunday of the fall shift from DST.” The researches concluded that the sleep deprivation was to blame. In addition to the sleep deprivation, “the behavioral adaptation anticipating the longer day on Sunday of the shift from DST in the fall leads to an increased number of accidents.” All of this evidence suggests a compelling argument against daylight savings. It has not been proven to be cost effective, and now it can be proven that it is linked to an increase in the number of fatal automobile accidents. The changes in routine, sleep schedule, and the lighting of the road create a trifecta. Even if someone is loosing just one hour of sleep, it could be that one hour that keeps them alert on their drive to work. I know if I lose an hour of sleep I am confused, anxious, and exceptionally tired. I can see blatant changes in my demeanor, and how that could end up creating more accidents.
People are creatures of habit, doing similar things each day. People’s nighttime routine is no exception. Many people will watch television before going to sleep for the night. Television programs are on later now than they ever were before, with a whole genre dedicated to late night viewers. When the time change occurs, people will not want to change their whole schedules to catch up that extra hour of sleep. This induces the sleep deprivation that can cause automobile accidents, and mistakes within the stock market. Modern day society has no need for the change in time with the seasons. The consistency people have with their routines causes comfort, when that is disrupted and their sleep schedule is changed it can cause anxiety about the missed hour, creating for an even greater loss of sleep. Not sleeping reduces productivity, but also can create a dangerous environment.
When lights do not have to be utilized, and turned on as much due to daylight saving time, it is assumed that people are saving money. Since the time of Willet this has been a theory, but it has been proven wrong. Klein tells the reader in his article that, “A U.S. Department of Transportation study in the 1970s concluded that total electricity savings associated with daylight saving time amounted to about 1 percent in the spring and fall months.” This is hard, conclusive evidence that the main goal of daylight saving time is not being met, and that is to save money. The gains the government are hoping for are not, and do not appear to be met anytime soon. If anything, the amount of energy saved will amount to even less as new energy efficient technology becomes more commonplace. And as statistics have shown, changing the clocks does not save anyone much money. The economic benefits of changing the clocks is nonexistent.
The practice of following daylight saving time has been difficult to follow. It has been implemented and repealed many times. There is no conclusive evidence that daylight saving time is saving people money. Yet, there is evidence of it causing more accidents, creating emotional stress, loosing people and the government money, and causing confusion. In the end, there is no proven positive results of daylight saving time, it is confusing and people loose sleep over a measure that is hurting people. I believe that it should be abolished.
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