We have all heard the 17th century English proverb: “The early bird catches the worm.” But what was true in prior time periods is not always the case in our modern 21st century Information Age.
Today, time zones have been eviscerated for some workers, as the world is increasingly interconnected 24/7 via mobile, digital and virtual technology. That’s one important reason why we should not have to agonize every year over changing the clocks to “spring forward” in March and “fall back” in November (see other reasons below).
Most Americans pushed the clocks forward one hour on March 14, reinvigorating the debate over Daylight Saving Time (DST). Strong views abound…
There’s an illuminating argument for why Congress should pass the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021. The bill, co-sponsored by eight senators, would make DST permanent. Moreover, the legislation was introduced by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum (see a few of their tweets below), a rarity in today’s toxic political culture on Capitol Hill and beyond.
In case you missed it, The Washington Post recently reported:
- “The idea is gaining some traction after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators reintroduced a bill that would eliminate standard time and keep daylight saving time year-round.”
- “Florida’s state legislature passed its own version of the bill in 2018, as have 15 other states, including California, Oregon, Tennessee and Maine.”
- “Individual states, however, aren’t permitted to change their DST schedules without federal approval from the Department of Transportation, which means an act of Congress would be required.”
- “Across most of the Lower 48 states — including the District — those early winter sunsets before 5 p.m. would become a thing of the past. The drawback is that mornings would be noticeably darker from November to March.”
To shed more light on the issue, consider the positive impacts of DST which include (but are not limited to) these four factors:
- Less energy use,
- Increased work productivity,
- Fewer health hazards, and
- Better personal well-being.
It seems like no matter who you ask, people are sick and tired of changing the clocks twice a year — and for good reason — despite their personal feelings about DST.
Sleep experts warn that moving the clocks back and forth, in general, can result in sleep deprivation. Gaining or losing that precious hour of sleep throws off our internal body clocks and disrupts our circadian rhythms.
This is true whether we “spring forward” in March or “fall back” in November.
According to Shelby Freedman Harris, Psy.D, an expert on sleep disorders at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City:
- “One hour may not seem extreme, but we can’t reset our circadian rhythms as easily as we change the time on the microwave.”
- “It’s clear that the human body does not readily or easily adapt to jarring changes in the alarm clock.“
- “We could keep daylight saving time or not, but if health and safety are the deciding factors, we should stop switching back and forth.”
In short, making DST the official time annually will enhance our health and wellness.
Did you know? In addition to the USA, about 70 countries are impacted by Daylight Saving Time, according to the website TimeAndDate and other sources.
There’s no better time to make Daylight Saving Time year-round than after this cold and dark COVID winter. I’m cosponsoring the Sunshine Protection Act to improve public health and let everyone enjoy an extra hour of sunlight every day of the year. https://t.co/uGsfStn0L2
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) March 9, 2021
This post was previously published on Medium.com
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