Opinion | Daylight saving time is useless

By Sanchita Teeka, Columnist

America has a ton of weird practices, and one of the worst practices our country maintains is daylight saving time. Many Americans agree and dislike the concept of setting clocks back an hour in the fall and then setting them forward an hour in the spring. 

In fact, over 83 million people have sent messages to Congress petitioning for the end of daylight time. Some of these submissions are simply comedic in nature, capturing exactly how many people feel. One user succinctly summarized, “Please stop this, everyone hates it.” However, among these messages in the petition to Congress, there are many legitimate concerns. 

The concerns in the petition include the effect on children, the impact on mental health and overall safety. Many of these concerns hold merit and are supported by published studies. 

In one study, Australian suicide data from 1971 to 2002 were analyzed to find the impact of daylight saving time on suicide rates. The study found that male suicide rates rise in the weeks following a one-hour time change. The evidence suggests that “small changes in chronobiological rhythms are potentially destabilizing in vulnerable individuals.” 

These results mean that more than just being an inconvenience, daylight saving time has a real negative effect on people’s lives. An enormous conundrum then arises — why do we even have daylight saving in the first place? 

Daylight saving time started as a result of time zones. Time zones were introduced by major railroad companies in 1883 to avoid confusion and train crashes that were occurring because of different local times. This was enforced by the Interstate Commerce Commission, which also enforced daylight saving time later on in order to help in the World War I effort.

Germany had incorporated daylight saving time during World War I to conserve fuel and power. The idea was that if there were more hours in the day with the sun out, people would spend more time outside and less time inside, thereby conserving energy. Soon after, the United States incorporated daylight saving time as well. 

Daylight saving time was abolished after the war, but some states chose to continue it. This ultimately recreated the confusion with transportation once again, so daylight saving time was reincorporated nationally. 

Today, there is no justification to continue using daylight saving time. It doesn’t save any energy, and we are not in the midst of a world war. It is nothing but a nuisance that messes with our biological clock and life. Research has also shown that during the week after the shift to daylight saving time, there are increases in car crashes, stroke rates, mental health issues and more. 

Frankly, daylight saving time is useless. It’s time we give up whatever historical connection we have with daylight savings and stick to one time. 

 

Sanchita is a sophomore in LAS

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