About one-third of Americans say they don’t look forward to these yearly time changes. And nearly two-thirds would like to eliminate this completely, compared to 21% who aren’t sure and 16% who would like to keep moving their clocks back and forth. Personally, I do not change my clocks to daylight savings time. I stay on standard time all year long.
The effects of this time change go beyond being inconvenienced. Researchers have discovered that “springing ahead” every March is connected with serious negative health effects, including an uptick in heart attacks and teen sleep deprivation. In contrast, the fall transition back to standard time is not associated with these health effects.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was implemented in the United States nationally on Mar. 31, 1918 as a wartime effort to save one hour’s worth of fuel (gas or oil) every day to light lamps and coal to heat homes. It was repealed nationwide in 1919, and then maintained by some individual localities (such as New York City) in what Time Magazine called “a chaos of clocks” until 1966 when the Uniform Time Act made DST consistent nationwide.
When the change to daylight saving time comes in March, most Americans will “spring forward,” setting their clocks ahead one hour. Unlike the “fall back” time adjustment, this change isn’t the fun one: Without changing habits, many are likely to lose one hour of sleep which can come with negative consequences for physical and mental health.
The sleep deprivation caused by this adjustment persists longer than only a day. During the week following the Sunday transition, people may experience a 30-minute decrease in sleep each night, even through the following Friday.
Austim Lim, A neuroscientist, pointed out that he sees this forced sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruption as unnecessary. And stated that it is time to change this unhealthy practice. He went on to mention that sleep deprivation brought on by the transition to daylight saving time has been associated with demonstrable physical harms. Additionally, the risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack increases in days following the spring time change.
Changing sleep patterns, even by one hour, goes against a person’s natural circadian rhythms and has negative consequences for a person’s health. One study found that the risk of a heart attack increases 10% the Monday and Tuesday following the spring time change.
DST is expensive. William F. Shughart II, economist at Utah State University, states that the simple act of changing clocks costs Americans $1.7 billion in lost opportunity cost based on average hourly wages, meaning that the ten or so minutes spent moving clocks, watches, and devices forward and backward could be spent on something more productive.
The Air Transport Association estimated that DST cost the airline industry $147 million dollars in 2007 thanks to confused time schedules with countries who do not participate in the time change. According to the Lost-Hour Economic Index, moving the clocks forward has a total cost to the US economy of $434 million nationally, factoring in health issues, decreased productivity, and workplace injuries.
In the weeks following the spring DST time change, male suicide rates rose in Australia compared to the weeks following the return to standard time in the fall.
James Wyatt, Associate Professor at Rush University Medical Center, states, “We’re encountering an increase in extra auto and workplace accidents on Monday or perhaps even carrying through the first week of the Spring time shift.”
DST increases the risk that a car accident will be fatal by 5-6.5% and results in over 30 more deaths from car accidents annually.
I personally do not keep daylight savings time. I keep my watch on standard time. I have enjoyed good health and I am 66 and a half years of age at the time of writing this article. I wake up when I want and go to bed when I want. I do not set an alarm to get up in the morning. I start work when I want and don’t work when I want. Yet I am normally busy 12 hours a day Sunday through Friday and cease work before sunset Friday so that I can keep the Sabbath.
As a final note, it’s also known that Sabbath keepers live longer. Article soon to come.