It’s Time for a Change | Sophie Sills
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Daylight Savings. Whether the first thing that comes to mind is gratitude for the longer days and later sunsets of summer, or resentment of the true difficulty it takes to pull oneself out of bed on a dark spring morning, the ritual of changing our clocks has simply become a habit for American citizens. But this past Tuesday, less than ten days after we all changed our clocks over to Daylight Savings Time, the Senate passed a bill called the Sunshine Protection Act, which would mean an end to this practice.
According to this legislation, instead of having two different time systems for the fall-winter and spring-summer, we will switch to relying solely on Daylight Savings Time (DST) throughout all months of the year. Although the issue, and also the solution, may seem straightforward, there are many more complexities than initially meet the eye, and a system of permanent DST has several pros and cons worthy of discussion.
First, the positives. As many of us know, DST brings us longer days and later sunsets, which will make noticeable changes when implemented on a year-round agenda, specifically in the fall and winter when the sun typically sets as early as 4:30 or 5:00 PM. These bright, cheerful evenings will give us the capability to do more with our days, whether that be getting a relaxing neighborhood walk in after finishing the night’s homework, or spending an extra couple of hours at the beach during the summer- hours that would otherwise be plunged into the darkness of night during the portion of the year that we utilize Standard Time. Additionally, DST saves energy, as we have more sunlight in the afternoons, which reduces our need for electricity during the hours of the day that we are most likely awake and need light. Supporters of this change also say that sticking to DST will benefit those with seasonal depression.
Although there are several positives that come with DST, there are some negatives that simply can’t be ignored. First off, as we all know, DST offers later sunrises, making it even harder to wake up in the mornings. If we adopt DST for our time system year-round, the sunrises during the winter months (the time of year that we do not typically use DST) could reach times as late as 8:00 or 9:00 AM in certain parts of the country, making it so that we truly would start our days in the dark, something that the majority of the population definitely isn’t used to. Possibly even more alarming, this change would make it so that the sunrise would be unbelievably early (as early as 4:30 AM) during the longer days of the summer. Additionally, these time changes actually can be detrimental to sleep schedules and quality of sleep, leading to decreased productivity and increased accidents.
The bill still needs to be voted on in the House of Representatives and approved by the president, but if all goes according to plan, we will be fully reliant on DST by 2023. Public opinion is still being gauged by state governments, as this is a complex and controversial change that could have many benefits in the long run, but also many drawbacks. Additionally, if you’d wish to express your opinions on Daylight Savings Time, our House representative Mike Levin sent out a survey which you can use as a vessel to express your thoughts on the issue and have your voice heard.