Why Daylight Saving Time is Unnecessary


Ceia Kasper

Picture of a fall sunset, when it starts to get darker earlier.

Lauren Klein

In 2021, we changed the clocks on March 14 and November 7, first “losing” an hour, and more recently “gaining” an hour of the day at 2 a.m. Daylight saving time was said to be a good way to save energy by “conserving” it. People such as Ben Franklin were advocates for starting daylight saving time, but it was first observed by Germany in 1916 (NBC Chicago) Over 70 countries around the world follow DST changes according to the National Sleep Foundation. 

What are the cons of daylight saving time? Many people might not have ever thought of it as something negative other than the fact that you lose that precious hour of sleep once a year, but daylight saving time can also have bigger and more serious effects. 

For one, daylight saving time can seriously mess up humans’ circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that bodies go through in order to regulate sleep. Circadian rhythms need to be synced with light and dark cycles in people’s environment for good and high-quality sleep. During a transition from daylight saving time to standard time, there are darker mornings and brighter evenings, which leads people to sometimes be more drowsy in the mornings and more alert in the afternoons and evenings, so they’re not as tired when it would typically be time to go to bed, causing people to not consistently get enough sleep, which is also called “sleep debt.” 

It’s also common that many more people are affected by the March time change, and on average, people get around 40 minutes less sleep during the change. Studies have also shown that the human body might not ever fully adjust to time changes, and “circadian misalignment may become chronic or (a) permanent issue” According to the national sleep foundation. This can lead to serious health conditions and problems later on. Lastly, daylight saving time is linked to causing not only physical health issues, but also negatively affecting mental health issues such as depression, mood disturbances, and can even cause an increased suicide rate. 

What is a better alternative to daylight saving time? Some suggest that just sticking to using standard time zones would be more beneficial than changing clocks twice a year. It would allow people to keep their circadian rhythms in line year-round and could improve the quality of sleep people get. Other countries like Japan, China, and India, and some states and territories of the United States don’t use daylight saving time, such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, and the US. Virgin Islands, Guam, and more. If other states, territories, and countries are able to not use daylight saving time, then it’s definitely possible and attainable, and, while it might be a hard transition for the rest of the country to make, it could definitely benefit a lot of people, and it would be well worth it.