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A Closer Look at Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time comes with its share of benefits and risks. PHOTO/ Pixabay

By Milette Millington

Published: April 3rd, 2019

Daylight Savings Time (DST) started almost two weeks ago, and it will continue until early November. During the nearly six-month period, clocks are sprung ahead by one hour. This means that we have longer days and shorter nights, losing an hour of sleep.

DST was first adopted by Germany in 1916 during World War 1. Formerly “Fast Time,” DST was first introduced in this country in 1918. After being repealed seven months after, it got repealed in 1942 in the midst of World War 2.

Because we lose an hour of sleep during DST, “the body needs to adjust to going to sleep earlier, which may leave people restless at night and cause sleepiness the next day,” according to an article published last year by Ashley Welch for CBS News. This article then lays out the effects that the loss of sleep has on things such as mood and productivity. It states, “On average, Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep when we set the clocks ahead in the spring. Such sleep disturbances can lead mood disruptions and increased irritability.”

With workplace injuries, the article states that “A 2009 study examined data on over 500,000 mining injuries from 1983 to 2006 and found a 5.7 percent increase on the Monday following the time change. What’s more, the injuries were more severe, leading to a 68 percent increase in the number of days of work missed.”

The article by David Trilling published for Journalist’s Resource states: “The spring is most dangerous: In the first few days after we lose an hour of sleep, researchers have shown increases in car accidents and heart attacks — the latter by as much as 24 percent.”

Since it gets darker at a later time, there is a benefit in commuting home. I think that another benefit is that it’s brighter inside my house, too. What I mean by this is that we save energy by not having to put on lights until a certain time. Trilling’s article also states, “As for energy consumption, in a 2008 study carried out shortly after the last federal change to the daylight saving schedule, the U.S. Department of Energy found annual energy usage fell about 0.03 percent. That may not sound like much, but it is enough to power 100,000 homes for a year.”

With an extra hour of sunlight, I could get more reading done at night in my spare time. We are in DST for a period of almost nine months, and the other three we are in standard eastern time. I would say that the days may be longer now, but either way, time moves fast.

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