13 Reasons Why Daylight Saving Time Is the Best
One hour of lost sleep is a fair trade for a bunch of perks.
This year, daylight saving time will fall on March 10 at its normal time: 2:00 a.m. And before you ask, this is the one where the clocks move forward, giving you an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. (Don't worry: if the math is confusing, most of your devices will automatically make the switch for you.) Yet despite the tradition's clear reason for existing—more sunlight—it's picked up its fair share of criticism. Critics say that it's outdated, that it doesn't actually serve any purpose, and that it "steals" an hour of precious sleep.
Sorry, but all that sounds like a bunch of whining. Yes, your sleep schedule is thrown out of whack for, oh, a week or so. But in return, you reap all manner of life-bettering perks. Here are the 13 best.
It's Light When You Leave Work
Do you love leaving the office for the day only to find yourself in the dead of night? Yeah, didn't think so.
Luckily, when daylight saving times kicks, you get an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon—meaning that, unless you work the nightshift, you're likely to experience at least an hour of two of sun after leaving work, depending on location. You can check out exact figures at TimeAndDate.com for your exact zip code. How you spend that hour, of course, is up to you. Just be happy that you have it.
You Can Catch the Sunrise
Daylight saving time doesn't just shift the sunset later. It also moves the sunrise earlier. For all you night owls, this means you just might finally get a chance to catch the sunrise—and doing so may boost your wellbeing! According to research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, waking up earlier in reference to the sunrise decreases chance of depression. It's no surprise, then, that the study's authors recommend we switch to daylight saving time all year-round. After all, you can't have too much of a good thing.
It Leads To Fewer Car Accidents Deaths
If you're among the estimated 100 percent of people who dislike motor vehicle accidents, daylight saving time is on your side. According to research published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, a full year of daylight saving would reduce passenger fatalities by 3 percent, and pedestrian fatalities by a whopping 13 percent.
Why? According to another study published in Injury Prevention, the answer is simple: "A disproportionate number of fatal injuries occur after dark."
It Sheds More Light On Dubious Night Owls
Sorry, night owls, but apparently you can't be trusted. According to one study in Personality and Individual Differences, individuals with nocturnal habits are more likely to have personality traits included in the "Dark Triad," such as narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
Specifically, researchers proposed that these individuals thrive at night by "tak[ing] advantage of the low light, the limited monitoring, and the lessened cognitive processing of morning-type people." In other words, when the early birds get tired, the havoc-wreaking rascals come out to play.
Fortunately, daylight saving time provides the rest of us with a thin layer of protection by extending sunlight later into the evenings, allowing for increased "monitoring" of these nefarious individuals.
There's More Sunlight For The Smartest Folks
Despite the trouble-making behavior of night owls—or perhaps as a result of it—researchers at the London School of Economics have found that, on average, people who stay up late tend to be more intelligent than the average population. Basically, that means we all change our clocks just to give these smarty-pants a few extra hours of sunlight.
It Gives The People What They Want
Fact: most people want daylight saving time to end. According to one survey, nearly three in four Americans want to banish the practice.
Now, that's a flashy number and all, but the headline fails to capture a crucial point: those same respondents wanted to keep the later sunset all year-round. Thus, they don't actually want to end daylight saving at all. They want to extend it—indefinitely.
It Saves Electricity
According to a study conducted by the Department of Energy, daylight saving time decreased yearly electricity consumption in the United States by about .03%. While that might not sound like a lot, it's enough to power 100,000 households for a year, according to Scientific American.
According to the Library of Congress, daylight saving was first established in the United States during World War I "as a way of conserving fuel needed for war industries." While it was repealed soon after the war, in 1920, it was then reinstated in 1942 in the midst of the World War II. So the next time you bemoan getting out of bed with one hour less of sleep than usual, just remember: it's for the troops.
It Fights Crime
According to research published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, daylight saving time plays an outsize role in fighting crime. In their estimates, the shift to DST causes a 7 percent decrease in robberies, resulting in $59 million in annual savings. Who needs a masked vigilante anyway?
You Watch Less TV
Shortly after the extension of daylight saving time in 2006, Variety reported that the ratings of "virtually every show" was negatively affected by the change. But while the television industry may dislike this cause-and-effect, your relationships—and your health and wellbeing—love it.
Sunlight Keeps You Going
A paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that a variety of the health benefits of UV rays have been overlooked in our rush to condemn excessive exposure. In fact, it noted, excess UV rays account for only .1% of the global burden of disease, while its benefits psychologically and physically are myriad.
The best-known benefit, it said, is the boosting of one's Vitamin D production. You might not have known, however, that "at least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body are now thought to be regulated by…the active form of the vitamin."
It's A Random Quirk Of History
The idea for daylight saving time was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in a facetious letter to the editor of a Parisian newspaper. (For instance, he assures readers that "he [the sun] gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this.") His explanation was that it would save candles, a proposition Franklin found particularly appealing, seeing as he "love[s] economy exceedingly," he wrote.
Fast forward more than two hundred years and voila! that rash suggestion scribbled out by a foreigner to a local press has become a full-fledged, nearly global phenomenon.
It Gives Us Something Fun To Talk About
Twice a year, every year, the world of letters fills up with paeans for, and diatribes against, the institution of daylight saving time. In today's world of 24/7 news cycles and instant communication, it's nice to know there a couple stress-free (though certainly emotionally wrought) conversations we as a people are able to conduct. Given that we can't even agree on spellings anymore, this may be one of the last civil conversation we can have. And for more on why this tradition should stay, check out these 10 Ways Daylight Saving Time Is Good For You.
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