It’s Time to End Daylight Savings

DST Is More Annoying Than it Is Useful

It’s Sunday morning, March 12.

I wake up late and walk upstairs to hear my roommate cry out, “We’ve been robbed!” My stomach sinks. Did he forget to lock the doors?

Scenarios run through my head until he follows up with, “[…] an hour. We’ve been robbed an hour!”

Oh, right, I think to myself. We moved the clocks forward. I’m immediately annoyed. Not at him though—I’m annoyed because I don’t understand why daylight savings time still exists.

Daylight savings time is the evil, late-18th Century brainchild of Benjamin Franklin—though it wasn’t officially adopted until 1915 in Germany. The idea behind this nefarious tradition was to save energy by making better use of light during the day. We move the clock forward one hour in the spring and set it back again in the fall. This makes it so the time we’re awake better corresponds to daylight hours. It’s logical—sort of.

Maybe DST was an important facet of society in the early 20th century, when artificial lighting was gas powered and it was important to conserve energy during the First World War, but today the practice is outdated. Modern advances in eco-friendly lighting have almost eliminated the high demand for electricity used by artificial lighting. As well, studies show that, depending on where you live, there is little to no effect on energy consumption in regards to lighting and daylight savings.

Some researchers even found that energy consumption rose in certain places because of the extended use of summer air-conditioning in the evenings, and the use of heating in the mornings during early spring. These same studies state that lighting had little to no effect on curbing energy use. So why is the practice still in use today? Convention? Stupidity? Possibly.

I’m not the only one frustrated about daylight savings. Farmers have long called for its abolition because of how it disrupts their schedules.

“It might benefit people in warmer climates,” says José Sicotte-Dodriddge, a farmer in Estrie, “but here it just messes with you [and your sleep]. We don’t start farming until later in the season anyway. There’s no benefit to [having] it really.”

Over 70 countries worldwide practice daylight savings, but in Canada it’s regulated provincially. For example, Saskatchewan abolished DST in the 60s and remains part of the Central Time Zone all year round instead—a practice I had the pleasure of experiencing for just over six years when living in Regina.

Saskatchewan has come to terms with not having DST, so why won’t the rest of the world? Correction, why can’t the 35 per cent of the world who still participates in this inane practice not understand?

Still, there are plenty of arguments for or against DST. One study shows that in the long run—two to three weeks after DST—there is a decrease in fatal car accidents when observing daylight savings. However, a different study shows that in the week after DST in March, there’s a 17 per cent increase in car accidents.

A study looking at accidents in the workplace showed that when we move clocks back to gain an hour, there was no effect on the amount of workplace-related accidents. But move the clocks forward an hour, “workers sustain more workplace injuries and injuries with greater severity” on the Monday following the loss of time. However, this finding is mostly attributed to people getting 40 less minutes of sleep in the night.

A few other studies looked at whether daylight savings causes sleep deprivation, or if it encouraged physical activity, but neither of the studies were conclusive. Essentially, daylight savings time is just really, really annoying—especially for university students. It rears its ugly head right smack in the middle of the busiest time for us and steals an hour of our day, right out from under our noses.

I think it might be time we take one last look at this outdated energy conservation tactic and then, in the fall, when we move the clocks back, accept that it’ll be daylight saving’s one last hurrah before being banished to the dark ages.

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