Opinion | It’s time to turn back the clock — for good

Daylight saving time should be the new standard time.

Chris Klepach, Opinions Contributor

November brings the dreaded time of year when days get shorter, and the weather gets colder.

On Nov. 6, the clocks were set back an hour for daylight saving time. As with every year, many people were left confused and unbalanced by the shorter daylight schedule.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. The U.S. should stop changing the clocks twice a year and stick to daylight saving because the practice is outdated and interrupts Americans’ sleep schedule.

In the U.S., daylight saving time is the practice of advancing clocks forward during warmer month, so darkness falls later. Currently, we are in standard time when clocks advance back.

Daylight saving time was introduced by major railroad companies in 1883 to avoid train crashes. During World War I, daylight saving time became a common practice to ration fuel supplies.

After World War I, the federal government abolished daylight saving time, leaving the issue to the states’ discretion. This caused transportation collision and accidents because neighboring states were in different time zones.

In response, the U.S. Department of Transportation uniformly implemented daylight saving time in 1966.

States are not required to reset their clock twice a year. Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that do not practice daylight saving time because both receive excessive sunlight throughout the year.

But times have changed, and the rationale behind daylight saving time is waning. In fact, daylight saving is a source of distress for most people.

In a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that changing the clocks for daylight saving time had negative cardiovascular health effects in adults under 65:

“The incidence of acute myocardial infarction was significantly increased for the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in the spring,” the journal reported.

In a separate study by Michigan State University, research concluded daylight saving time led to more workplace injuries:

“Following phase advances, we found that employees slept 40 min less, had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries, and lost 67.6 percent more work days because of injuries than on non phase change days,”  the study found.

With all the negative effects daylight saving times has on one’s health, it is not surprising that two-thirds of pollsters want to change how we handle it, according to the polling firm YouGov. In the poll, 53 percent of pollsters want a permanent daylight saving time, meaning time stays “sprung backward” an hour.

Some argue daylight saving time saves fuel and energy. But today, we use resources at a large enough scale that daylight saving time doesn’t make a dent in it. At best, it only reduces energy use by 0.5 percent.

In March, Iowa lawmakers voted 82-13 to pass House 2331, a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent for Iowans.

But we should seek a federal law to make daylight saving time permanent throughout the county.

In 2021, the Senate pushed forward with The Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time the permanent standard time.

If the Biden administration and the House of Representatives push forward and pass this act, it would take effect in 2023. If they do, we can finally have more stabilized sleep schedules.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.