THE SANTA CLARA
November 6, 2014
This past Monday saw Santa Clara students with a spring in their step, as an extra hour of sleep left us feeling refreshed and eager for the upcoming school week.
At least, that was the case for the few students who actually went to bed early and took advantage of the time change on the Saturday night after Halloween. For all of the other students who used the extra hour on a Saturday night to “study,” the benefits of extra sleep were largely missed.
The Monday following the time change next spring, however, will not see Santa Clara students with a spring in their step either. Groggy, three cups of coffee deep and despising our alarm clocks, we will take to social media in droves, cursing daylight saving time.
But Santa Clara students won’t be alone in their outrage. The families of those who suffered heart attacks as a result of the change will share our complaints. A 2012 University of Alabama study found that heart attacks increase by over 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following the shift to daylight saving time.
Car accident victims will also have cause to complain when millions of tired drivers are forced to drive in lighting they aren’t used to. So will those who suffer workplace injuries at the hands of their sleep-deprived coworkers.
The original supporters of daylight saving time include Benjamin Franklin, who wanted to cut back on candle usage when he jokingly proposed it in 1784, and George Vernon Hudson who called for a time shift in 1895 so that he could have more time to study insects. Both most likely did not predict the suffering that their proposed time shifts would bring.
Modern proponents often cite the need to save energy as the main reason to support daylight saving time. Such claims likely stem from studies in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which found that we trim national electricity usage by about 1 percent with the time.
In theory, that makes sense. Longer daylight hours mean less time with the lights on. But what those studies do not account for is the increased air conditioner usage mandated by the extra hours of hot sun during summer.
With the use of air conditioning factored in for the state of Indiana alone, daylight saving time “led to a 1 percent overall rise in residential electricity use, costing the state an extra $9 million dollars,” according to Yale University environmental economics professor Matthew Kotchen.
In essence, we are using an archaic system to regulate our sleep patterns that does more harm than good — that is why only 37 percent of Americans find daylight saving time to be “worth the hassle,” according to a March 2013 Rasmussen Report.
The United States as a whole should follow the lead of states like Arizona and Hawaii, which do not practice daylight saving time. We should abolish a time shift that turns Americans into zombies every year.
If not, we will continue to suffer because of this ridiculous system.
Thomas Curran-Levett is a junior political science major and the editor of the Opinion section.