By Danyel Poindexter, Staff Writer
Daylight saving time, or DST, as some people like to pronounce it, is about to end with almost an entire country moving their clocks back an hour in the early morning of November 6. Apart from the fact that our world is about to become a darker place once again, there is one question that continuously surfaces every time DST does: Why do we even need it? Contrary to negative opinions that claim the whole concept is complete garbage that needs to be put to rest, DST is an attempt for humans to force their lives to fit into the natural world—an aspect most like to ignore. If we really consider the idea surrounding DST and how it is embedded into our lives, we will realize that it is both a rebellion against time and an acceptance to it.
It is hard to prove that DST does more harm than good, yet critics often shift their focus to health problems and schedule disruption and even cite confusion. They refuse to consider the fact that DST is an eight-month experiment designed to make life more enjoyable for us rather than depleting. They refuse to consider that perhaps DST has stayed around for so long because people actually enjoy the extra sunlight we force upon ourselves through this seasonal experiment.
Typically, we spend more time awake in the evenings than the mornings. While the morning is our starting point of the day, the evenings hold more benefits such as increased socialization, vitamin D or mental health improvements. It’s simple: we get more done in the evenings especially when we have more sunlight than we do at any other time during the day. Without DST structured into our lives, there would be no prosperity from the sun during our days. The average adult spends most evenings working a 9-5 job, meaning they have little time to enjoy whatever sunlight is left. When they leave work, they are tired and ready to hang it up at home. We do not need statistics to show us that most of us want to be more productive when there is actual sun out. Daylight gives us extra motivation, while the night or a cloudy sky makes us want to stay indoors and rest. So, during spring, summer, and early autumn, we adjust the time just a bit so that the evenings will not be so dim. In the winter, we abandon DST simply because there is not enough sunlight to make a difference.
A 2010 study by University of Minnesota researchers found the number of crashes during DST declined. They hypothesized that the visibility of drivers is improved during this time. A paper in Brookings Institute also found that there was a seven percent decrease in crime following the shift of DST for the simple fact that crime tends to happen much more often in darkness. While, of course, critics can argue against this logic just like I can argue against theirs, is DST really doing any harm? We have more opportunities to do recreational activities with expanded daylight, we can enjoy great late sunsets, and we can conserve energy. I personally keep all my lights off when the sun is beaming outside and just open my curtains. To be frank, with the hour adjustment of time, my brain is fooled into believing I got more sleep than usual.
It is blatantly unnecessary to have some sort of disdain for the consequence of DST: a mere hour’s difference in time. DST is an imperfectly perfect, weird idea that we have come up with to enjoy a little more sunshine. What is the harm in that? DST is already embedded into our lives and doesn’t have a huge negative impact on the country. So why fix something that isn’t broken?