By Sarah Eckrich
March 14, 2013
Daylight saving time signals the impending arrival of summer—it’s an extra hour of sunshine in the afternoon, which we can all agree is fabulous. However, don’t let this deceptive treat erase your memory of its evil. It also robs us all of a very precious hour of sleep, completely disturbing the flow of daily life for citizens everywhere.
Studies have shown that the number of car accidents increases in the days following the great changing of the clocks. Everyone is running around, worried that they won’t be on time because their sleep-deprived bodies haven’t adjusted to the time.
This sleep deprivation translates into an increase in injuries in the workplace as well. If you don’t get into an accident on the road, or stuck in traffic behind one, you have another chance to go to work and fall victim to DST. Not only does getting hurt on the job hurt you—it hurts your employer and it hurts the economy. I don’t know that it’s been proven, but I’m willing to bet the whole sleep-deprived body thing makes for longer healing time too, for anything from a paper cut to a broken bone.
Circadian rhythms don’t know what daylight saving time is, and can’t adjust automatically the way cell phones do. If your fragile body survives commuting and a day on the job, danger is still lurking. DST also summons an increase in heart attacks in the days following the great time migration. February is heart health month, and then we go and throw an increased risk for heart attack at the American people in March. It’s absolute madness.
If car crashes, work mishaps, and heart attacks don’t faze you, try this one on for size: less milk, which means less chocolate milk, less milk for your coffee or cereal, less milk to make pudding, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. Even cows get screwed up by DST: for a few weeks following the time change cows don’t produce their normal amount of milk until they’ve had adequate time to adjust.
On top of all of these attacks on daily life, the worst part of it all is really just how grumpy the whole transition makes people. I mean, I think I love long hours of sunlight more than just about anyone, but being forced to make such a dramatic time switch and go on like nothing happened is cruel, unusual, and really a violation of our 8th Amendment rights. Crankiness spreads—it’s a disease that far surpasses a deficit in dairy or an increased potential for accidents.
We could all use more sunshine, but the current system just isn’t working out. If we can’t just get rid of DST (like Hawaii and the majority of Arizona has), there is only one obvious solution: the first Monday follow daylight saving time needs to become a national holiday—a full day off of school and work for the entire country to safely adjust to the time change.
It will save lives, help our economy, keep our cows happy, and, most important, reduce overall grumpiness.
Sarah Eckrich is a sophomore majoring English Writing with a minor in Environmental Studies. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.