By PEYTON MAULSBY
Daylight savings is a surprisingly old idea. Back when our time was more flexible, civilizations like Rome would have different clocks for different months of the year. In the more modern era, Benjamin Franklin is attributed with the original idea to adjust our clocks seasonally in order to have more daylight during our waking hours.
The idea was not put into practice until the early 1900s in Germany when entomologist George Hudson proposed it (this was mostly so he could spend more time collecting bugs). However, daylight savings did not come over to the US until after World War I and was only used periodically until the 1970s energy crisis when it was fully adopted.
The idea of daylight savings really only affects a few people. Closer to the equator you get, the less change in daylight you will have over the course of the year. Tropical areas have an average of twelve hours of sunlight almost every day. This means that daylight savings has less of an effect as their daylight hours never change.
The other areas that aren’t really affected are those closest to the poles. Arctic zones can have upwards of 24 hours of total sunlight (or total darkness). While this does occur seasonally, their daylight is already all sorts of weird. Many people agree that there is no point in trying to add another layer of confusion on top of it.
The people daylight savings most benefits lies in between those areas, known as the temperate zones. (Iowa happens to be a part of this).
There are some benefits to daylight savings, as annoying as it is. The point of it is in the name: to save daylight. When there is more sunlight after our work day, we essentially have “more day”. With an extra hour of sunlight, we are more likely to go outside, go shopping and get things done.
With this extra sunlight, we are also, in theory, conserving energy by using natural lighting and spending more time outside. However, with the invention of air conditioning and indoor entertainment like video games, we are not as encouraged to go outside. So we spend the extra energy keeping ourselves inside.
Besides the complications, daylight savings may just not be worth it. According to Science-Based Medicine newsource, lack of sleep is already an issue in the United States and taking an hour away from our sleep once a year leads to higher suicide rates as well as decreased efficiency for upwards of a week after. Parents with children on regular sleep schedules struggle to adjust them after daylight savings. Even animals on farms have a routine they don’t want disrupted. If you’ve ever had a pet on a feeding routine, you would know that they understand when feeding time is.
Along with this, the invention of LED lights significantly reduces the amount of energy it takes to light a room. Studies from Science-Based Medicine have shown that the costs and gains of daylight savings are so minimal (about one percent either way) that it does not make a difference.
So is daylight savings is worth it? Well, it all comes down to whether we’re willing lose sleep over it.