Is it time to dump Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time starts at 2:00 AM tomorrow morning and there are increasing calls to end the practice. Part of the reason are the health effects, which are serious. And then there's the extra energy usage that we can't afford in this day and age.
Once again, the oft-dreaded daylight saving time change is upon us. The day that the clocks "spring" forward also inevitably takes a spring out of our step.
Sure, the birds seem to chirp a little later, the sunlight shines a little less as we drag ourselves through the morning routine. But as study after study has shown, that seems to be about the only highlight in those first days after the change.
According to the Better Sleep Council, a nonprofit organization supported by mattress manufacturers, 61% of U.S. adults say daylight saving time affects their work the Monday after the changeover.
In a survey of 1,038 adults, the immediate effects of losing an hour of shuteye affected everything from people's moods to eating and driving habits.
About 29% of those surveyed said it takes a week to adjust to the change, with adults between 18 and 34 needing the most time to get with the new program. (But let's face it: those at the younger end of that range may struggle to get out of bed regardless.)
But don't just take the mattress industry's word for it. A number of studies over the last 13 years have highlighted the range of health consequences of people ill-prepared to start their morning routine just 60 minutes earlier.
According to a 2008 Swedish study, there's a 6% to 10% increase in heart attacks in the first three workdays after the start of daylight saving time. An Australian study the same year concluded that men were more likely to commit suicide in the first few weeks after the switch, and a 2000 study in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention showed accidents in Sweden increased by 11% the Monday after the change.
The extra hour of dayloght was also supposed to help farmers. But all of the reasons for DST are now anachronistic and we should probably ditch the practice.
In the meantime, don't forget to move your clocks forward one hour before you go to sleep tonight.