Here we are again, on the eve of one of my least favorite days of the year – the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST). Spring forward. It sounds so positive, doesn’t it?
Let’s take a look at what Michael Morain, reporter for the Des Moines Register, had to say about the issue in a recent article. Additional comments have been added from this disgruntled participant.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is daylight saving time, not savings time. Have fun correcting your friends and family when they say it incorrectly. Add it to a homemade trivia game to ensure you will always get at least one answer right.
- As if we didn’t already have enough of this saving of daylight time before, President George W. Bush, extended the length of DST by four weeks in 2005 when he signed into law the Energy Policy Act. Now we get to do this from 2 a.m. (what’s up with that, anyway?) the second Sunday in March until 2 a.m. the first Sunday in November. (Note: If you don’t wish to observe DST, you can move to either Hawaii or Arkansas where standard time is observed year-round.
- Night owls tend to have more difficulty with the time switch than early birds. A 2008 Finnish study confirmed that while everyone’s sleep patterns can be disrupted, that of those of us who are night owls is especially disrupted.
- The New England Journal of Medicine, in a 2008 study, found there is a spike in heart attacks during the first week of DST as a result of sleep deprivation. As might be expected, there is a reduction in heart attacks the week after DST ends.
- U.S. News Health has indicated that observing DST year-round could prevent 195 motor-vehicle deaths and 171 pedestrian fatalities per year. Why? People are safer drivers during the daylight. (Okay, I give. We already observe DST just under 8 months a year. Why don’t we just make the change permanent and be done with it?)
- Although the United States did not implement DST until WWI as a way to conserve fuel, Benjamin Franklin is credited with first noting a need for it. In his 1784 published journal, An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light after observing people burned candles at night, yet slept until after dawn.
- While Franklin’s project successfully diminished the cost for lighting (average DST household uses 1 % less energy for lighting) but it has raised the cost of heating and air-conditioning by 2 – 3 %.
- Homeowners are advised to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when changing their clocks for DST. Have you changed yours? By the way, don’t forget to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide monitors, too.