Daylight Savings: The Real March Madness

Image courtesy of Lauren D’Ambra.

By McKenna Larson

Daylight Savings Time is the annoying remnant of an America focused on maximizing the working hours of farmers. In modern days it is an annoyance that causes fluctuations in sleep patterns, increased car accidents, and general loathing. Scientists, law makers, and sleep-loving Americans have debated the negative impacts of the “spring forward” of the clocks in mid-March, but nothing has been done to change this tragedy. 

Earlier this very month Congress was debating whether or not daylight savings should be kept on throughout the country. Personally, I think there are bigger fish to fry in American politics, but the Congressional debate does raise some interesting questions. 1) Why is the government in charge of the construct of time at all, and 2) how can we recover from the effects of Daylight Savings? 

The first question is likely unanswerable, as time is a human made construct based on the movement of the sun itself. Why are elected bodies in control of something as intangible as time, who knows. Originally, changing the clocks was meant to reflect the change in daylight through the seasons to get the most work out of farmers as possible but now it feels pretty useless. No real progress has been made on this issue, but if you look at research done by experts there are links between changing the clocks and real changes to human hormone release, increased sleep deprivation especially in teens, and more car accidents the Monday after the time changes. 

The second question is harder and easier to answer than the first. The true answer is that there is no way to recover from the emotional damage of waking up at 7 am but knowing in your primate brain that it should be 6 am. Until we have a change from Congress, or you move to a state that does not observe Daylight Savings (ie Arizona or Hawaii) we are stuck with the pain the day brings. Maybe it’s time, as dutiful citizens, that we write our civic leaders and demand change. But, with how sleepy everyone feels after changing the time forward, I doubt this would happen. Ultimately, we are at the mercy of Earth’s rotation and the human construct of time so we might as well just go along for the ride, albeit with some grumbling.

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