Daylight Savings – When and WHY?

Daylight Savings Time
On the first Sunday of November, at 2 a.m., clocks fall back an hour to standard time.
Turn your clocks back on November 5, 2023 at 2:00am

Whose idea was this national nightmare anyway?!  Some have attributed it to non-other than Benjamin Franklin, but that attribution is a bit sketchy. In truth, Daylight Savings Time (DST) was first introduced in Germany during WWI as an energy saving measure.  The US adopted the idea in 1918 as its own wartime measure, but repealed it just one year later.  (It wasn’t very popular.)

DST was reinstituted in 1942 during our next war to end all wars, WWII.  For the next few decades the use of DST became something of a social and political football with states and even regional localities switching between DST and Standard Time (ST) at will.  To stop the maddness Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, thereby standardizing DST with its START and END dates set across the country, … sort of.  Hawaii and Arizona opted to keep ST year-round.

In 1974, however, the US decided to adopt DST as its permanent time-line due to the energy crisis.  But, people grew meary of the dark winter mornings forcing the law to be repealed again.

Colorado Governor, Jared Polis has reopened the debate by suggesting we make a permanent shift to DST.  In March, 2023, the Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, effectively putting an end to the semiannual changing of the clocks!  Not everyone was happy with this proposal, however.

Kenneth Wright, Director of the CU Sleep and Chronology Lab says, “If you look at the expert consensus from the scientific societies that focus on sleep, health and circadian rhythms, all of them agree this is a bad idea.” Wright continues, “Yes, we should be getting rid of the time change, but the science suggests we should be sticking with ST and not DST.” Whaaaaat?

Wright also suggests that sunlight in the evenings comes at the price of morning light which he feels is a dangerous tradeoff because mornings mean sleepier commuters, icier roads and more children walking to school or waiting for the bus before the sun comes up.

The extra evening sun is, according to sleep researchers, additional cause for concern. More light during evening hours sends a signal to our circadian clock that we should be going to bed later, thereby waking up later too.  Sleeping later has been associated with substance abuse and other physical and mental health problems, including obesity, depression and heart disease.  The Sunshine Protection Act will need to pass through the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Joe Biden before this debate can be settled, assuming members of the House will heed experts warnings, that is. 

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