Spring forward: get with the time change

Heidi Larson and Heidi Larson

The time change needs to get with the times. Why do we think daylight saving time is a good idea? Let’s all be extra sleep deprived as a society. Let’s all go out driving drowsy and see what happens. Let’s mess up the routines of our kids and our pets because we’re saving time. Oh wait, what’s that you say? We’re not saving time because the hour we skip in the Spring is there waiting for us in the Fall? But time is relative because of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the space-time continuum, right?

Actually, that only applies if you are approaching the speed of light. String theory aside, I’d rather save time by not having to change my clock and watch twice a year. Fortunately, my cellphone and computer change themselves.So back on Earth, moving at human speeds, are we saving anything by changing our clocks and our schedules twice a year?

A version of daylight saving time was proposed by Benjamin Franklin way back when to conserve candles. Do we use candles now? No. Is daylight saving time saving candles? No. Is it saving any other electricity? No. In our postmodern era, we use our cellphones 24/7 regardless of what time it is. We run our A/C and heat whenever we feel the need without regard to the time change. What really saddens me is the increase in fatalities around the twice-yearly time change. In addition to increased traffic fatalities from drowsy drivers, people’s health is also affected. Heart attacks and suicide rates spike around the change. Sleep deprivation leads to decreased productivity at work, so one study I read suggested that businesses and the government lose lots of profits and taxes due to drowsy workers during daylight saving time.

Daylight saving time also affects students. Our sleepy brains don’t learn as well in the morning after the time change. Retailers on the other hand love daylight saving time because when it’s light out people shop more.Daylight saving time should go the way of the rotary telephone and be obsolete. The problem is that a large scale change would require legislation to get everyone in America on the same page. Revoking daylight saving time will probably go on the long list of “there ought to be a law” right under the idea that the United States should switch to the metric system.

It’s true, but change is hard. I don’t like the time change, but I have to adjust to it in order to be on time to class and work. If you need me, I’ll be taking a nap.