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The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

What exactly are we saving?

Leave our (body) clocks alone
License: CC0 Public Domain

NOTE: This opinion piece originally ran on March 16, 2023. My opinion has not changed. 

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, the time jumped forward an hour. You may have noticed the extra daylight yesterday. On the other hand, you may have noticed the extra darkness this morning. This, of course, is the effect of daylight saving time (DST). Daylight saving time is a misnomer. There’s no way to “save” daylight since there are only 24 hours in a day. It turns out that DST is not healthy for the human body, so the government needs to let it die.

Our bodies run on an internal clock. When we mess with the real clock, our internal clock is upset. A 2020 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that 63% of Americans prefer to eliminate DST. Another 2019 study by the AASM reported that 55% of respondents experienced tiredness after the clock changes.

In addition, other studies have found an increase in heart attacks and strokes plus an increase in mood disturbances and hospital admissions, according to Doctor Adam Sira, professor of mental health at Johns Hopkins University. Another 2020 study found a link between increased fatal car accidents and the onset of DST.

Finally, for high school students, DST has an effect on their academics. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that after the time change, students were sleepier, less attentive and had slower reaction times. So if you find yourself yawning more and your mind wandering during class, you’re probably not the only one.

Proponents of DST claim that DST helps save energy (the original purpose), but in fact, the opposite is true. While it does save some energy, because the sun is out longer, people use more electricity by running their air conditioners. In the long run, the savings are negligible.

Others claim that the extra hour of sunlight each day is healthier for the body and the mind. People are able to get outside after work and exercise. However, again, research has refuted this. A 2020 study in PLOS found that the change negatively effects mood disorders, substance abuse and depression.

The United States Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act in 2022. The Act failed in the House of Representatives, though. This bill would cause the U.S. to change to DST permanently. It has been reintroduced this month in the Senate and House. If it passes and becomes law, our internal body clocks will be permanently set an hour ahead.

Not only do we not need the Sunshine Protection Act, but we also don’t need daylight saving time at all. Leave our clocks (real and body) alone.