We have all heard the 17th-century English proverb: “The early bird catches the worm.” But what was true in prior time periods is not always the case in our modern 21st century Information Age.
Today, time zones have been eviscerated for some workers, as the world is increasingly interconnected 24/7 via mobile, digital and virtual technology. That’s one important reason why we should not have to agonize every year over changing the clocks to “spring forward” in March and “fall back” in November (see four factors below).
Most Americans pushed the clocks forward one hour on March 14 — with the exceptions of Arizona and Hawaii — reinvigorating the debate over Daylight Saving Time (DST).
There’s an illuminating argument for why Congress should pass the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021. The bill, co-sponsored by eight senators, would make DST permanent. Moreover, the legislation was introduced by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum (see a few of their tweets below), a rarity in today’s toxic political culture on Capitol Hill and beyond.
The Washington Post recently reported on similar activity at the state level:
- “Florida’s state legislature passed its own version of the bill in 2018, as have 15 other states, including California, Oregon, Tennessee and Maine.”
- “Individual states, however, aren’t permitted to change their DST schedules without federal approval from the Department of Transportation, which means an act of Congress would be required.”
To shed more light on the issue, consider the positive impacts of DST which include (but are not limited to) the following four factors:
- Less energy use,
- Increased work productivity,
- Fewer health hazards, and
- Better personal well-being.
People are sick and tired of changing the clocks twice a year — and for good reason.
Sleep experts warn that moving the clocks back and forth, in general, can result in sleep deprivation. Gaining or losing that precious hour of sleep throws off our internal body clocks and disrupts our circadian rhythms.
This is true whether we “spring forward” in March or “fall back” in November.
According to Shelby Freedman Harris, Psy.D, an expert on sleep disorders at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City:
- “One hour may not seem extreme, but we can’t reset our circadian rhythms as easily as we change the time on the microwave.”
- “It’s clear that the human body does not readily or easily adapt to jarring changes in the alarm clock.“
- “We could keep daylight saving time or not, but if health and safety are the deciding factors, we should stop switching back and forth.”
In short, making DST the official time annually will enhance our health and wellness, in addition to other socioeconomic benefits.
Did you know? In addition to the USA, about 70 countries are impacted by Daylight Saving Time.
More sunlight later in the day makes good business sense and common sense. To wit:
We all consume vast amounts of energy due to new and emerging technologies, as well as demographic changes. The use of solar power and electric cars is trending upward, for instance. Thus, in an effort to enhance energy efficiency and business cost savings, countless numbers of companies have “gone green” with the advent of alternative forms of clean energy, like solar and wind.
Popular Mechanics magazine reports on the amount of energy saved due to DST: “In 2008, the Department of Energy conducted a massive nationwide study that found a decrease in energy use of about 0.5 percent — doesn’t sound like much, but that’s about 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours.”
“That’s enough to power a dishwasher in every single US house for more than a week straight.”
TimeAndDate reiterates how DST benefits energy efficiency:
- “Pro DST arguments are that more light can counteract blackouts and other electrical failures that can occur later in the day and that it influences people to spend more time out of the house, thus using less lighting and electrical appliances.”
Making DST irreversible would equate with less money spent by employers and consumers alike.