Proposed by New Zealander George Hudson, Daylight Savings (also known as Summer Time) is the practice of advancing the clocks during summer by an hour, so evening daylight will last longer by an hour, while sacrificing the natural sunrise times. Basically, it requires places with summer to adjust their clocks forward 1 hour as spring begins and then adjust them back to standard time in the autumn.
In the US, people have been observing Daylight Savings for about a hundred years now, with the routine occurring twice a year. Americans started practicing the idea in the 19th century before electricity became mainstream, with the reasons behind it primarily rooting in economics, and not in energy conservation. As you can see, it was believed that adding an hour of sunlight to the day promotes higher productivity, as people would work longer and would then have more time after the day to spend their money, though this is no longer the case in these modern times.
Ever since Daylight Savings was first introduced, it has been a topic of debates where people have been arguing whether or not the idea has realized its desired effects. So, why is it still practiced today? For a well-informed answer, let us take a look at its pros and cons first.
List of Pros of Daylight Savings
1. It maximizes natural daylight.
Like what it was done a century ago, this practice is done to make the most of the natural daylight. This idea can still be accomplished by temporarily aligning the sunrise and the sunset with time changes. For a lot of people, this makes it easier for them to do morning commute or get out and exercise in the morning, not to mention that their children will not at school when it turns dark. This is especially advantageous to those who just walk to school, and there are no buses. In addition, some reports show that it has helped reduce untoward events during the hours where people need to be out and about, which is why advancing the clocks is regarded by many as a safety measure as well.
2. It helps reduce accidents.
As people would get more sleep, Daylight Savings is truly beneficial in a way that it helps prevent accidents on the road or at the office, which can result from people getting tired after their shift. And as traffic accidents often happen when it is dark, considering this practice would mean that we will be able to enjoy more light for evening drives, decreasing accidents and saving a substantial number of lives every year.
3. It allows you to conserve electricity.
According to a 1970s study by the US Department of Transportation, one percent of electricity that was consumed that year was saved through this practice. Many experts agree that it helps energy conservation.
4. It brings about some business advantages.
A lot of businesses found that changing time has helped them increase sales. This is especially true for those engaged in tourism, sports and retail. According to them, their sales increased when the hours after work were extended when people were more inclined to do some shopping or take part in recreational activities.
5. It is good for the health.
Proponents strongly argue that Daylight Savings is good for the health, stating that if people are given more time after work or school in the daylight, then they will be encouraged to engage in fitness activities, such as walking, jogging and sports. While these activities can be done without adjusting the clock, a good percentage of people would not prefer it when it is dark.
List of Cons of Daylight Savings
1. It causes people to consume more gas.
According to professor at Tufts University Michael Downing, Daylight Savings can increase consumption of gas, while it is said to help decrease electricity usage. He said that giving people an extra hour of daylight would inspire them to go to the mall or the ballpark or the mall, and many of these individuals would not walk, but drive. And in this modern age where dependence on fossil fuels is of high concern, this practice is not entirely beneficial. Considering that people are using more gas, despite cutting electricity consumption, it will just be a trade-off and not really an overall advantage.
2. It does not really help conserve energy.
Another study by economists Laura E. Grant and Matthew J. Kotchen in 2008 found that, when all Indiana counties adjusted their clocks under state law, there was a great increase in electricity consumption during the fall because of people having to turn up their air-conditioning systems more.
3. It poses challenges in timekeeping.
Even in this high-tech age, changing time still requires someone to make the change, whether it is done manually or with programming. No matter how individuals look at it, making sure the clocks are adjusted is a detail to remember, which can be tedious. This can also affect businesses that include frequent travelling and other time-sensitive processes.
4. It disturbs sleep patterns.
Though it is just an hour, people would often say how much the time change has affected them, particularly their sleep patterns. This is especially true among parents with infants, toddlers and children. Undoubtedly, advancing clocks an hour has definitely become a bit of a hassle for families.
5. It can be hazardous for your health.
While proponents argue that a time shift is good for the health, opponents think otherwise. As some people say that Daylight Saving Time will give us more vitamin D, others also point out that the lost hour of sleep will cause people to tire easily, which can increase the risk for heart attacks and other serious conditions.
All in all, the pros and cons of Daylight Savings would vary based upon individual circumstances. Also, the consequences brought about by the practice are often highly controversial and are not necessarily conclusive. So, on your end, would you like to continue observing Daylight Savings or not?
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.