Oct 09

The Fusty Tradition of Changing Time

In Brief—A look at how we are being dangerously conned with Daylight Savings Time.

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Time is Money

Savings TimeSpring ahead. Fall back. Yep, we’re talking about Daylight Savings Time (DST) here, folks. That’s how you’re supposed to remember how to change the clocks twice each year. In the spring, set the clocks one hour ahead; in the fall, set the clocks back one hour. The only thing worse is jet lag…but more about that later. And capitalism.

How many time pieces do you have? Wall? Bedside? Wrist? Car? Upstairs and down? Inconvenient? Is the Pope Catholic? We have to change the clocks twice a year unless you are one of those lucky enough to have an automatic system to take care of your wall clocks…or live in Arizona or Hawaii.

First the dose of castor oil: When did the tradition of Daylight Savings Time (DST) arise?

Daylight Savings Time has been around for some time. It is said that Benjamin Franklin first wrote about it in the 18th century (it’s his quotation above), but not until the 20th century was it actually instituted. With the exception of Arizona and Hawaii, all the American states have Daylight Savings Time. Since it has been moved around by Congress and the vast majority of Americans hate it, why in Sam Hill are we saddled with Daylight Savings Time (DST)?

There are a number of confusing beliefs about changing the time. Does it add to the number of daylight hours in any day? No, DST makes only the evening hour lighter! Regardless of where we live on Earth, the length of the day changes according to the inclination of the planet and the season. In America, the daylight hours are longer in the summer, shorter in the winter. So Daylight Savings Time adds nothing. Rather it shifts the daylight toward the evening hours and away from the morning. Mornings are darker thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

Benefits of Daylight Savings Time—

Who benefits by it remaining lighter in the evening? Mainly it’s business. Business maintains that most people—not everyone, of course—shop in the evening after they get off work. That’s why politicians in Congress rushed to set up Daylight Savings Time. Ain’t capitalism wonderful! Shopping and buying stuff is what the world is about. Buying and selling—profit-making—is the cornerstone of progress (a little sarcasm here).

Research shows that automobile accidents decline with that extra hour of daylight. That stands to reason. Human eyeballs don’t see as well when it’s dark. Duh! Except we won’t discuss dusk when eyeballs are less efficient, but auto accidents decline when it’s light out.

Another benefit is that we play more during the summer when there’s more light in the evening. Additionally, maybe we’re safer because there’s marginally less crime, but what about the darker morning hours? Do crooks sleep in?

Disadvantages of Daylight Savings Time—

According to reams of research, human health is adversely affected when the time is advanced in the spring and set back in the fall. Heart attacks are significantly more in the first three days after the start of Daylight Savings Time. More automobile accidents occur in these first few days (figure that one out). Same with injuries at work.

Every fall, there are more suicides in those first few days after the backward change. All humans are subject to daily ups and downs in our energy levels. Circadian rhythm, remember? We don’t adapt well to change. Never have. Never will. We arose from the sea where tides are a fact of life. But this isn’t about human evolution, it’s about the alarm clock going off earlier or later.

Experts in human sleep report that springing forward and backward every year is like jet lag except you aren’t traveling. Even though you aren’t traveling, your body doesn’t know it, so your health and alertness suffer. Why?

Thank Congress and politicians catering to business for needlessly stressing your body. They want you to get out there and shop. They don’t care if you die prematurely. Shopping is more important to them.

Let’s put an end to this travesty. Only you folks in Arizona and Hawaii get to rest your pens. The rest of us need to sit down right now and call or write our representative and let him/her know that they should leave the clock alone. If they insist on catering to business, leave Daylight Savings Time in place all year. No forward and backward. Your pet will thank you, your heart will thank you, the majority of your fellow humans will thank you.

Stop messing with time.

Update—Today (August 30, 2016) I see that Massachusetts is proposing to change to year-round summer time. That’s a good sign. Fingers crossed that the other states follow.

6 comments

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    • Kathy on October 10, 2016 at 01:41

    Ya gotta love atomic clocks. They set themselves!

      • Don Bay on October 10, 2016 at 09:52
        Author

      Yep, they are wonderful, but not everybody has them. As I said to Donna, let’s use common sense and respond to both business interests and to health by leaving DST year-round. AND our pets will appreciate the change instead of wondering why meal time makes their stomachs rumble twice a year.

    • Donna on October 10, 2016 at 05:25

    sorry, Don. I kind of like DST because it gives me more time to relax, walk, etc. outdoors in the evening. Roger and I like to go for a walk after dinner and before we go to bed, but when it gets dark so early – even with DST, that option isn’t possible. It will be sort of nice to wake up to day light after we go off DST, but I’d gladly exchange that for more light in the evening.
    I think the farmers like DST too.

      • Don Bay on October 10, 2016 at 09:45
        Author

      As I have said in the post, DST can remain in effect, BUT quit with the changing back and forth twice every year. I agree with you that we can take advantage of the extra light in the evening, but leave it that way all year. The adverse impact on health of twice annual changes is proven. Now let’s use common sense and respond to business needs and to health both.

    • Brenda on October 13, 2016 at 23:42

    I so wish DST was discontinued. Being a morning person, I love to see the beautiful earth when I awaken. The light gets me going. When it starts getting dark, I feel the need to hit the hay.

    DST doesn’t make sense.

      • Don Bay on October 14, 2016 at 07:22
        Author

      They can retain DST and satisfy everybody. One time all year. No changing back and forth. DST is not the problem, but twice annual time changes are. Perhaps a nudge to our politicians will result in common sense winning.

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