The time change is here. Sunday at 2 a.m. is the end of Daylight Saving Time for the year. It’s the time we set clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep, and happily so.
Until evening comes, of course, and we realize how early darkness sets in.
Daylight Saving Time in the United States began in 1918 as an attempt to save energy during the throes of World War I; but studies show as society moves away from a 9-to-5 work day, any energy savings has disappeared.
Despite the myth, the change in time wasn’t done to benefit farmers.
In fact, during the first World War I experiment in 1918, farmers were extremely opposed to having to turn back and forward their clocks, according to The Old Farmers’ Almanac. Not surprisingly, it disrupted their schedules and made it more difficult to get the most out of hired help.
Even now, controversy surrounds the change of time and evidence for and against changing time is in conflict.
Those against the annual changes in time argue it interferes with the natural circadian rhythm of the human body, resulting in more car accidents and heart attacks. Lack of sleep at the start of Daylight Saving Time has been linked to an increase in workplace injuries, suicide, miscarriages and a decrease in productivity at work.
As for gaining an hour of sleep in November, research shows most don’t get extra sleep and the change can affect the body’s sleep-wake cycle for days afterward.
The time change constantly meets opposition.
Since 2015, more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced in nearly every state to either stay on standard time or convert to full-time DST. As of Sept. 1, at least 32 states have considered 85 pieces of legislation and six have enacted laws concerning Daylight Saving Time.
While states may opt out of the time change, to make it permanent and all-encompassing, Congress would have to pass an amendment to the Uniform Time Act.
Of course, this is an election year and the country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, among other problems. It’s likely not the best time to worry about changing our clocks. However, there is a path to avoiding the time change and it’s a path we should investigate eventually.