10 Reasons Why Daylight Saving Time Is Actually the Best
Losing an hour of sleep is a fair trade for all the benefits of Daylight Saving Time.
It's hard to argue with an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. But while we get lighter evenings after the clocks spring forward, Daylight Saving Time still faces its fair share of criticism: The biggest complaint, of course, is that it costs us an hour of precious sleep. While many of us groan at the thought of the time change, there are a number of benefits of Daylight Saving Time that most people don't even think about. Read on, and go into Daylight Saving Time with a fresh, positive outlook.
It's better for the economy.
How can you get more Americans shopping? Give them an extra hour of sunlight! Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward, told NPR that Americans are more willing to spend their money shopping when they "have an hour of sunlight after work." He said that retail stores are a huge proponent of Daylight Saving Time, and that the golf industry even tried to persuade Congress to give an extra month of DST because it was "worth $200 million in additional sales of golf clubs and greens fees," while the barbecue industry said it was "worth $100 million in additional sales of grills and charcoal briquettes."
It allows more people time to catch the sunrise.
Daylight Saving Time doesn't just shift the sunset later—it also moves back the sunrise. For all you night owls, this means you might finally get a chance to catch the sunrise, and doing so could boost your well-being! According to a notable 2003 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, waking up in relation to the sunrise actually decreases a person's chance of depression. It's no surprise, then, that the study's authors recommend we switch to Daylight Saving Time all year-round.
It leads to fewer car accident deaths.
When it comes to avoiding motor vehicle accidents, Daylight Saving Time is on your side. According to a major 2004 study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, a full year of DST would reduce passenger fatalities by 3 percent, and pedestrian fatalities by a whopping 13 percent. Why? According to another oft-cited 2006 study published in Injury Prevention, the answer is simple: "A disproportionate number of fatal injuries occur after dark."
It's light when you leave work.
Do you love leaving the office for the day only to find yourself in oppressive darkness? Probably not. Luckily, when Daylight Saving Time kicks in, you get an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon—meaning that, unless you work the night shift, you're likely to experience at least an hour or two of sun after leaving work, depending on your location. How you spend that hour, of course, is up to you—but you can be happy knowing that you have it!
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 percent. While that might not sound like a lot, it's enough to power 100,000 households for a year, according to Charles Q. Choi writing for Scientific American.
It sheds more light on dubious night owls.
Sorry, night owls: Apparently you can't be trusted. According to a 2013 study in Personality and Individual Differences, people 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 taking "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 sorts.
It helps lower crime.
Daylight Saving Time plays a large role in fighting crime, according to a 2015 study published in the Review of Economics and Statistics. In their estimates, the shift to more sunlight in the day causes a 7 percent decrease in robberies, resulting in $59 million in annual savings. Who needs a masked vigilante when there's DST?
It helps increase vitamin levels.
A pivotal 2008 study 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, excess UV rays account for only .1 percent of the global burden of disease, while their advantages—psychologically and physically—are myriad. The best known benefit is the boosting of Vitamin D production.
It fights seasonal depression.
When the winter rolls around, an estimated 10 million Americans who struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have to deal with changing, and lower, moods. But it's not the snow that does it—it's the end of Daylight Saving Time. As Hisaho Blair wrote for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, most scientists believe that SAD is caused by a "biochemical change in the brain, triggered by shorter days and reduced sunlight in the winter." So when we take that extra hour in the fall, we're actually doing more harm than good.
It actually gives the people what they want.
Fact: Most people think they want Daylight Saving Time to end. According to a 2017 survey conducted by EndDaylightSavingTime.org, nearly 3 in 4 Americans want to banish the practice. Now, that sounds like a significant majority, but those same respondents want to keep the later sunset all year-round. So basically, they don't actually want to end DST at all. They want it to go on forever.
Additional reporting by Kali Coleman.