As the sun rose so late this morning, 7:40 AM I believe, I wondered why we keep “springing forward” and “falling back” every year. Some think Daylight Savings Time (DST) was begun for the farmers but not so. Others believe DST was begun to benefit military efforts through energy savings…the real reason.
DST was first utilized in World War I to help conserve electricity. Apparently it ended when the WWI was over but was then reinstated during WWII, ending again in 1945. In 1966 the Department of Energy enacted the Uniform Time Act separating the US into the different time zones as we “enjoy” them today. A 2008 Department of Energy (DOE) study found the amount of electrical savings that occurred during DST was equal to 0.5% per day or approximately 1.3 kw per day, enough to power 122,000 average homes for a year!
The US Department of Transportation has credited DST with “reducing the number of accidents and crimes” which I find to be a little far-fetched. everyone seems to agree “springing forward” and “falling back” an hour twice a year disrupts our biological clocks. Researchers in Sweden reported in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine that the number of heart attacks jumps during the period immediately following time changes and again this month, the American Journal of Cardiology released similar findings after their study. It seems as though car accidents, suicides, depression, heart attacks and decreased productivity are more closing associated to “springing forward” an hour today…especially in the forthcoming week. In an article written by Dr. Mercola he discusses more of the medical implications of DST and also provides some good advice on easing the effects of the time change.
For those who are not fans of the Uniform Time Act of 1966 there is a group attempting to eliminate the DST changes. The group’s website, StandardTime.com offers some very interesting facts as well as a petition you can sign to voice your opposition to DST. Take the quiz and learn even more.
With so many now using CFL or LED lightbulbs, the increased number of solar panels and motion-detected lights, Energy Star appliances and so many other more energy-efficient practices since 1966, I think we have saved reduced our electric use more than enough to power even more than “122,000 average homes for a year”! I personally would like to see Daylight Savings Time removed and have signed the petition voicing my opinion. Don’t agree…tell me your reasons in the comments below…