The times are a-changin’: when daylight saving time ended on Sunday, Nov. 6, it wreaked havoc and confusion as I stepped into my car that morning and thought I was an hour late for work.
U.S. senators seem to agree on the annoyance: In March, they unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make DST permanent. It has been stalled in the House, due to split opinions on whether time should be permanently set to DST of standard time, according to The Washington Post.
Personally, I lean towards permanent standard time, but more importantly, I find that the back and forth between corporate interests on either side of the argument is keeping us from solving the true issue — the damaging impact of the shift in general.
Daylight saving time was initially proposed as a way to maximize natural light as opposed to artificial use by changing the hour at which the sun sets. However, energy use in industrialized countries, particularly the U.S., is increased during DST, as the daylight hours increase energy usage from cooling — ultimately, DST has no impact on energy usage, according to National Geographic.
There are stakes for just about every industry, each fighting vehemently for their side — the petroleum industry is for DST, as people tend to drive more in the daylight hours. Intense lobbying has been put forth by sleep scientists opposing DST for its disruption of the circadian rhythm, according to National Geographic. I could go on: every group, and every person, has their own preference leaning one way or the other, which is much of the reason why the issue has not yet been resolved.
Looking to other countries, it should be noted that the majority of the world does not use DST. Most of Europe, the U.S. and Canada use it, but Africa and Asia are almost entirely in standard time, and South America and Australia each use it in only a few provinces or countries. The start and end dates for DST are different around the world. Arizona doesn’t use DST, and many states have preemptive bills to make DST permanent once the federal government approves a similar bill, according to NPR.
The main reason I tend toward permanent standard time is simply for the sake of global consistency — however, you might point to the research on how DST is potentially linked to increased risk of heart attacks and, as mentioned above, poorer sleep due to disruption of circadian rhythms. Of course, the transition to standard time is not without its faults: one study from Epidemiology found that incidents of reported depressive episodes increased by 11% for up to 10 weeks after the shift to standard time.
To be honest, both shifts have their pros and cons, but I find it quite pointless to shift from one potentially negative consequence to another for no reason other than to please one half of the population (only to subsequently upset the other half.) People will be angry either way — why not just pony up and make a decision one way or the other, permanently settling this grating dispute. Now’s your time to shine, Congress.
Zara Roy is the copy chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo
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