Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Lily Connel
There are several pros associated with daylight saving time. By extending the hours of daylight, people tend to consume less energy on lighting and heating, which reduces their energy bills. However, daylight saving time also has its share of cons. One of the major drawbacks is disruption to sleep patterns. The change in clock times can affect circadian rhythms, leading to sleep disturbances and tiredness.
Explanation of Daylight Saving Time (DST)
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a practice of setting the clock forward by one hour during the summer months and setting it back by one hour during the winter months. The purpose of DST is to make better use of natural daylight by extending the daylight hours during the evening, which is thought to save energy and promote economic growth. The shift usually occurs in the early hours of Sunday morning, typically at 2:00 am local time, and affects many countries around the world.
Pros of DST
- Despite the controversy surrounding DST, many people around the world still support the practice. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Longer evenings for outdoor activities: With an extra hour of daylight in the evening, people have more time for outdoor activities like running, playing sports, or going on walks.
- Boost to local economy: Longer evenings also mean people have more time to go shopping or dine out, which can boost the local economy.
- Energy savings: While modern society uses more energy than ever before, studies have shown that DST can still contribute to energy savings by reducing the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours.
- Safety benefits: DST has been linked to a reduction in pedestrian fatalities during certain hours, and a decrease in crime rates during the morning hours when it is still dark outside.
- More time for family activities: With longer evenings, families have more time to spend together outside, promoting healthy lifestyle habits and bonding.
Cons of DST
- Disrupts Sleep Rhythms: One of the most significant drawbacks of DST is that it disrupts our internal clocks or circadian rhythms. Studies have linked the lack of sleep at the start of DST to increased heart attacks and car accidents.
- Health Issues: DST may lead to a variety of health issues, including mental health disorders, digestive problems, and heart diseases. It could worsen pre-existing conditions and make it challenging to align with natural cycles of light and darkness.
- Misalignment with Natural Clocks: Permanent DST would not align with our natural circadian rhythms. It could cause significant sleep loss, insomnia or throw our sleep schedules out of whack.
- Increased Energy Demands: While DST reduces the requirement for electricity for household lighting and appliances, it may increase energy consumption for air conditioning in the evening and lighting up the dark mornings.
- Negative Impact on Crime Prevention: The additional sunshine in the evening may not impact crime prevention as significantly as it would in the morning. DST makes it easier for criminals to commit crimes under the cover of darkness.
The Impact of DST on Mental Health and Wellbeing
Although DST doesn’t necessarily cause mental health conditions, it may exacerbate them. For individuals already susceptible to anxiety and depression or those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the change in time can trigger an episode. Additionally, less time spent outdoors due to the earlier sunset can affect mood-regulating centers in the brain, causing the mood to dip.
To take care of mental health during DST, some measures can be taken. These include gradually adjusting sleep schedules, increasing exposure to early morning light, spending time outside during the day, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Some experts suggest staying on standard time year-round to maintain healthy circadian rhythms and better mental health.
The Impact of DST on the Environment
- Energy Savings: One of the main reasons for DST is to save energy by extending daylight hours during the evening. This leads to a reduction in the need for artificial lighting, which can help save electricity and reduce carbon emissions.
- Impact on Carbon Emissions: The reduction in energy consumption during DST can have a positive impact on carbon emissions. However, this depends on the energy mix of a particular region. If a region relies heavily on non-renewable energy sources, the impact on carbon emissions may be limited.
- Impact on Air Pollution: The reduction in energy consumption during DST can also have a positive impact on air pollution, as the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity is a major source of air pollution.
- Impact on Wildlife: DST can also have an impact on wildlife, as it can disrupt their natural rhythms. For example, birds may start their morning routines an hour earlier than usual, which can lead to confusion and negative impacts on their behavior.
- Impact on Agriculture: DST can also have a negative impact on agriculture, as farmers may need to adjust their schedules and routines to accommodate the time shift. This can lead to disruptions in planting and harvesting schedules.
In conclusion, daylight saving time has its benefits and drawbacks. While it can help conserve energy, improve safety, and boost productivity, it can also disrupt sleep patterns and create confusion for some people. Therefore, it is up to each individual to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether daylight saving time is worth the effort.