Daylight Savings Time does more harm than good


Credit: Ethan Wu

Katy Zhang, Editor-in-chief

Daylight Savings Time has been a part of the US ever since its first proposal made by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 as he noticed people burning candles through the night. His proposal was later published in the Standard Time Act of 1918, making Daylight Savings Time (DST) a way to conserve fuels.

Though this tradition has been in place for over centuries, as the current fuel technology and living patterns of the population evolve, the cons of utilizing Daylight Savings Time far outweigh the pros as it can cause negative health and social impact. 

The first negative effect of Daylight Savings Time is the health consequences it has on the body’s circadian rhythm. Since people are required to turn back time by an hour during their sleep, the loss of sleep can throw people off their original sleep cycles. Based on research from Northwestern Medicine, this particular cycle monitors the release of hormones that affect one’s appetite and mood, and environmental impact is able to cause “cluster headaches,” mood shifts, and an increase in appetite. Additionally, data has shown that changing sleep patterns during Daylight Savings Time can increase risk of a heart attack by 10% on the Monday and Tuesday following time change. 

Secondly, DST has cost Americans economically. Based on research conducted by William F. Shughart II, Economics professor at Utah State University, the simple change of time by one hour has cost Americans $1.7 billion dollars in lost opportunity cost based on hourly wage. Additionally, based on data from The Air Transport Association, the airline industry in America loses $147 million dollars due to the confusion in schedule with countries who do not participate in DST. All of these data are just simple aspects of the grand picture of the loss of economic efficiency and the cost we must pay in order to save an hour.

Lastly, DST decreases the productivity of workforces, decreasing efficiency in production. The Monday after DST is often called a “Sleepy Monday”, due to it being the day where many are sleep deprived. Because of this sleep deprivation, many employers and teachers can see an increase in “cyber-loafing” where employees would waste time scrolling through the internet instead of completing their work. 

In conclusion, the idea of DST though had a great intent, the negative effects of this activity have been increasingly prevalent over the years, and it is indeed a system that is outdated. Thus, it is important for the government and state authorities to reconsider this century old policy and make changes according to the current lifestyle of people.