Lose an hour of sleep this weekend, gain an hour of evening light for months ahead: Daylight saving time is back.
Set those clocks 60 minutes ahead before you hit the hay Saturday night. The time change officially starts Sunday at 2 a.m. local time.
Consider putting in new batteries in warning devices such as smoke detectors and radios — and repeat the exercise when standard time returns Nov. 6.The time change is not observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
Why did daylight saving time (DST) start, and why does it still continue? When asking a random sample of people we heard two answers again and again: “To help the farmers” or “Because of World War I … or was it World War II?”
1. We lost an hour of sleep.
OK, OK, we’ll get it back come fall, but for most of us, losing an hour of sleep is no easy proposition. Many people say they won’t feel fully caught up until the end of the week or next weekend.
2. That lost hour may affect physical health.
A study published last year in the British medical journal BMJ found a 25% surge in heart attacks on the Monday after the time change. Researchers speculated it had to do with the stress of dealing with the change. Other studies have found a similar increase.
3. Morning daylight comes later.
On a more superficial level, just as early morning risers were starting to enjoy the sun, Daylight Saving Time has whisked the light away. Now, the sun doesn’t come up here until after 8 a.m. which leaves those who run or bike outside at 6:30 a.m. in the dark.
4. Buses make their rounds in darkness.
Two-hour school delays became semi-standard this winter, but with the return of warmer weather, we can depend on schools starting on time. And that means that some kids will now find themselves waiting for school buses in the dark.
5. All those clocks need changing.
Yes, technology takes care of much of this — thank you cellphone towers — but you always can count on that last clock you forgot, such as the one in your car or on your stove, or worse, on your alarm clock.
6. Driving gets worse in the days following the time change.
A Canadian researcher found a 5% to 7% increase in fatal accidents in the three days after the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Interestingly enough, other studies have seen a similar increase in accidents in the fall when we gain that hour back.
7. Our bodies don’t adjust.
For people who eat meals at a certain time, Daylight Saving Time can throw things out of whack. If you’re used to eating lunch at noon for a few days your stomach will think, “What? It’s only 11.”
8. Kids hate going to bed when it’s light outside.
Yes, daylight in the evenings can be a good thing, but come mid-June not everyone loves the midnight sun. Think about parents of toddlers trying to put their children to bed while sun streams through their windows.
Besides, there’s something a little creepy about the fact the sun doesn’t set until after 9 p.m. on the western edge of the Eastern Time zone. We’re not the Arctic Circle.
9. The energy savings is a myth.
One of the oft-stated reasons for moving the clock forward centers around the electricity it saves, but that was before the advent of air conditioning.
But studies suggest any savings are minimal at best. Yes, people wind up using less electricity in the evenings but that’s off set by heavier usage in the early mornings.
10. but it is incredibly disruptive.
So, none of the arguments for maintaining DST weigh up. I have one, very large, argument to support scrapping it, though: it loses the US billions of dollars every year. It damages retail, affects the stock market in a negative way, and even disrupts agriculture.