I had no idea this weekend was Daylight Saving Time until Thursday, when my boss broke the news to me over a cup of coffee. Usually I’m well aware of the impending time change, but this year it completely slipped my mind. Perhaps it’s because I’m running on little sleep.
Though I lost sight of this weekend, I’ll never lose sight of how much Daylight Saving Time sucks. First off, did you know it’s technically Daylight Saving… not Savings Time? Yeah, how awkward is that? About as awkward as having to explain why we arbitrarily change the time of day twice a year.
Second, what daylight are we saving? Is there daylight being lost that I’m not aware of, and if so, how does rolling back my analog clock make that lost daylight reappear? I think physics is on my side with this one.
Third, and this one is a legit rant, messing with your sleep cycle can have negative consequences for your health. Duh. According to the smart folks at Harvard, “a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”
To keep us on track, WebMD offers some helpful tips about how to maintain healthy sleep. Wouldn’t you know it… the site’s very first tip is “stick to a routine.” Kind of hard to do that when the government forces you out of your routine with Daylight Saving Time. Worse yet, it only gets harder to adjust to a new sleep schedule the older you get. So, you know, it’s only going to get worse, folks.
Why Does Daylight Saving Time Exist?
Great question. Unfortunately, the answer is a bit of a let down. Mostly because it seems there isn’t one single answer. Some say it has to do with reducing the number of car accidents—adjusting rush hour so it doesn’t fall outside of daylight hours supposedly reduces crashes.
Originally, the time adjustment served farmers and their need to work the fields. I guess that makes sense… until you realize (again) that daylight is daylight is daylight, no matter how many cuckoos are reported by your kitchen clock.
The only explanation that provides any amount of satisfaction is the one that USA Today says is the official reason why Daylight Saving Time exists:
The idea behind daylight saving time is to take advantage of daylight hours and save energy. According to a 2008 Dept. of Energy study, U.S. electricity use was decreased by 0.5% for each day of the extended daylight saving time, resulting in a savings of 0.03%…. The savings are small in percentage terms, but in absolute terms, they added up to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, enough to power about 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.
In the end, we are powerless against the Big Time (the D.C. lobby that I imagine exists to keep Daylight Saving Time afloat and oppressing us all). Thus, move your clocks back one hour at 2 AM tonight. If you don’t, I applaud you… way to take a stand. Just know that you’re going to look like a sucker come Monday.