Sean Ray | Asst. A&E Editor
In his most recent episode of Last Week Tonight, show host John Oliver asked what was the point of day light saving time, citing the hassle of having to change the clocks, the drowsiness caused by the lost hour of sleep, the lack of energy conservation it was intended to cause and the fact most people don’t know what it is for.
While all of those are valid points, John Oliver acted like there was no benefit to day light saving time, which could not be farther from the truth. Year after year I see people complain about day light saving time without considering all of the great things that come with it. So, as a fan, allow me to show a few of the benefits of day light saving time.
Modern day light saving time was proposed by George Vernon Hudson in 1895, though Hudson wanted to make the jump be two hours instead of just one. Hudson highly valued sunlight, as his job as a postman gave him lots of free time to pursue his hobby of bug collecting, according to historians. As such, the man saw more sunlight as being only a good thing and wrote two proposals on the subject to Wellington Philosophical Society, where the idea of day light saving first took route.
This one is rather obvious. Day light saving time means more sunlight. Now this may seem like a very simple benefit that is not worth much, but increased sunlight affects what is perhaps the most important thing we all have: our own health.
The Vitamin D Council lists on their website that sunlight is one of only two main ways in order to gain the very important vitamin D. Day light saving time makes it easier to get more of that sunlight in our casual day. Unless you work outside, chances are the only light you see for most of the day is from a light bulb. Day light saving time gives you that precious sunlight after work or school, when people are likely to try going out with friends.
Providing Vitamin D isn’t the only way day light saving time improves body health, however. Day light saving time is also very important to our younger selves during the summer. More sunlight means more time to go play outside, after all. On standard time, things start getting dark outside much, much earlier, meaning parents will have to call their kids in to watch TV, play video games or any number of inactive and unhealthy activities.
As shown by John Oliver, most people believe that day light saving time exists to economically benefit farmers. Now, while this is not true, as shown on Last Week Tonight, there are groups that do economically benefit from the increased sunlight: the camping and sports industry.
As mentioned before, the increased sunlight, mixed with the warmer temperatures, makes outdoor activities be promoted during day light saving time. For example, in 1986 day light saving time was extended from six months long to seven. Who would want to extend day light saving time an extra month? The grill industry, which said they gained $200 million just from the extra month according to The Washington Post.
While the television industry does take a hit during this time due to the increase in outdoor activity, they gain it back once standard time resumes in the fall. Why do you think so many networks make a big deal out of their fall line ups?
Ever notice how a cloudy or over cast day just feels more depressing than a sunny day? This isn’t just a weird quirk, its actually scientific. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that, among other things, helps to regulate mood. The more you have, the better mood you are put in. What makes your body produce serotonin? Sunlight.
So, with all these benefits, should we really be considering getting rid of day lights saving time? I say no…we should be getting rid of standard time.
Consider this; most of the negative repercussions from day light saving time come from the day we switch the clocks. People are drowsy over having less sleep, causing numerous accidents from lack of attention and constant complaints. What if it was just day light savings time all year round? We would get all of the benefits and none of the repercussions.
Really, why do we even have standard time? It’s far from the standard, being that we have day light saving time 8 months out of 12 and with all the mood benefits I listed, who would really want more darkness? It’s harder to drive in the dark, less time is given for physical activities, and it means more time spent in doors and not enjoying the outdoors.
Day light savings t ime should not be the one on the chopping block for causing one day of misery when it could be giving us year round happiness and healthiness.