“It’s so depressing that it’s still dark out.” -Joe Astolfi
When I heard this sentence this morning, my first reaction was to tell Joe to shut his weather-loving mouth. But once I thought about it for a second, I kind of agreed.
Going about my morning routine in the dark is a bit of a bummer.
I find myself hitting the snooze button, skipping my morning run, and consistently arriving later and later to work each day.
But is daylight saving really the solution?
This Sunday morning at 2 am we all get to set our clocks back one hour. For most of us, that extra hour of sleep is better than trick-or-treating.
And sadly, that is all the further we take the thoughts of shifting our entire schedules.
The idea itself is pretty novel.
An extra hour of sleep, more light in my morning– it’s a win win!
Daylight saving has been a part of American life since 1918. And it makes sense. By shifting our clocks we make better use of daylight as sunrise/sunset times change throughout the year.
For us in the United States, Daylight Savings starts on the second sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. This recent change was penned into law by President George Bush (the second one) in 2005 then enacted in 2007 as means to save energy.
With some 1.6 billion people around the world observing some form of daylight saving– what could be so bad about it?
It turns out, changing those clocks might be silently killing you.
Okay, that’s a bit harsh. But there is a little truth to the idea.
The affects of the “spring forward” are often felt for longer than a single day. Making for one rough case of the Mondays.
And the numbers agree.
One study estimates the lack in productivity from springing forward costs the economy an estimated $434 million dollars every year!
It gets worse.
The first week of daylight savings correlates to an increase in heart attacks. An odd fact backed by multiple studies including ones by the University of Alabama and one done in Sweden.
Conversely, the amount of heart attacks drops following the end of daylight saving.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The Monday following that dreaded Sunday in March sees an uptick in traffic accidents by almost 10%! Additionally, throughout the year– drowsy driving due to daylight saving causes more than 300 traffic fatalities.
The Energy Hoax
A big part of daylight savings is energy savings. The idea is that by shifting our clocks, we will have more light in the evening and therefore use less energy to light our lives.
It makes sense. But the numbers just don’t agree.
While a study by experts from the energy department estimates daylight savings actually saves some 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year (enough to power 100,000 homes for an entire year). A couple big studies disagree.
Australia extended daylight saving by 2 months during the 2000 summer olympics to give more light to the host city of Sydney. But a study conducted by UC Berkeley showed that the shift in time didn’t change energy consumption at all.
Likewise, a study of homes in Indiana that adopted daylight saving in 2006 found that there was no additional energy saving from the newly adopted clock-shift.
A lot of what you think you know about daylight saving is a lie.
It’s not for kids at the bus stop, it wasn’t started by Ben Franklin, and not everyone observes it. Looking at you Arizona and Hawaii.
For more on the truth– check out this little article.
For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo