SAVE THE DATE: Sleep Summit Oct 8-11, 2024

Daylight Saving Time Can Kill You Or Save Your Life

It’s 7 a.m. and my alarm was screaming at me to get out of bed. Like a good boy, I woke up early this particular Sunday so I could make it to church. I got out of bed, cooked some breakfast, and ended up behind schedule because the kids weren’t cooperating.

It’s 7 a.m. and my alarm was screaming at me to get out of bed. Like a good boy, I woke up early this particular Sunday so I could make it to church. I got out of bed, cooked some breakfast, and ended up behind schedule because the kids weren’t cooperating.

In a rush, we fed the dogs and put away the dishes as we tried to avoid a late entrance into the service. After our chaotic morning, we arrived only to see everyone leaving, and then it hit me: Spring forward, you moron! 

Does this story sound familiar? Every year we have to change the cadence of our lives because some jack nut named George wanted to catch more bugs.

Jack Nut George the Bug Hunter

In 1895, an entomologist named George Hudson hatched this idea of Daylight Saving Time or DST, so that he could get an extra two hours to hunt bugs. In 1907 William Willett, the great-great grandfather of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, proposed it to England’s Parliament as a way to prevent the nation from “wasting daylight.” 

Winston Churchill liked the idea so much he took it to the British government, but they rejected the idea. Then in 1916 Germany became the first country to adopt DST, followed by the UK and just about every other European country. A few years later in 1918, the United States joined the effort to save energy, and we have been resetting our clocks ever since. 

The question is, do the pros of DST outweigh the cons?

Pros and Cons of Daylight Saving Time

The advocates say that by setting our clocks forward in the spring, we can counteract a sedentary lifestyle. The extra daylight will allow people to spend more time doing things they love, like playing golf, soccer, baseball, riding bikes, or taking walks. Longer days can even make us safer according to Timeanddate.com. Studies show that when daylight is extended there are 13 percent fewer pedestrian fatalities and a seven percent decrease in robberies. 

The detractors also make compelling arguments. Our modern lifestyle has changed over the years with computers, TV-screens, and artificial light, so any energy savings is minimal at best. In 2006, the state of Indiana did a study that showed energy usage actually increased during DST. 

How about the negative effects on our sleep? Studies show that the change to our circadian rhythm can lead to car accidents, workplace injuries, increased risk of a heart attack, suicides, and even miscarriages. 

People are starting to value sleep in a different way and as we learn more about the importance of quality sleep, it’s possible that this one issue could drive a change to this long standing tradition. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine about 30 percent of Americans have symptoms of insomnia. Since Covid-19, we know that number is growing. The question is, will our quest for better rest be enough to end DST? Maybe not when you consider that DST has also saved innocent lives.

In September of 1999, the West Bank was on DST while Israel had moved back to standard time. The time bombs built by the West Bank terrorists exploded one hour too early, killing three of them instead of the innocent people they were targeting in the attack. I can see the t-shirts now. “Keep DST, Kill Some Bad Guys.” 

Will we ever see an end to Daylight Saving Time? Hard to say, but given where things are today, I really doubt that this is on the priority list. So get ready, because on Sunday, March 14th you will spring forward—because we all know that time waits for no one.

Chris Martin from Coldplay says it well in his song “Clocks,” which is a tribute to his great-great grandfather, William. 

“Confusion that never stops

Closing walls and ticking clocks”

At The FAM, we hope you make it to church on time, minimize the confusion, and make the most out of that extra hour of daylight. 

Tell us what you think. Should we abolish DST, or keep it? 

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