by Hannah Guanti
Daylight savings time has been the norm since before most Americans were born. Since its enactment in 1918, Americans have set their clocks forward and back every year. Most of us just enjoy the extra hour of sleep or silently curse the alarm for going off an hour early with no thought as to why. Although we all accept this tradition, few people know that present-day practices only date back to 2007. Before then, daylight savings time was from April until October. Nonetheless, this year’s clock changing was Saturday and with it came all new questions from the American public.
The Sunshine Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Senate in March 2022. The purpose of this bill was to maintain fixed daylight savings hours throughout the year and remove the clock changes in March and November. The bill has been stalled in the House, and many fear it will die with the present Congress coming to an end in two short months.
The debates for and against permanent daylight savings time are numerous. The positive effects of daylight savings are hard to deny, such as more daylight after work or school. Politicians in favor of the bill also assert that it would reduce crime, lessen car and medical accidents, as well as influence children to go outside more. Although the data has been split on the accuracy of these claims.
From the opposite perspective, many health professionals have argued that permanent daylight savings time goes against our body’s natural clock that may result in short- and long-term problems. One example of this is ‘Social Jetlag’, or the concept that modern social timing is not consistent with our natural circadian rhythms. Social jetlag is only exacerbated by daylight savings time and leads to increased alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine intake as well as an increased risk of obesity.
No matter your opinion on daylight savings time, it seems that it will be staying put for the foreseeable future unless it is passed by the House soon.