As we move closer to the second Sunday in March, most Americans, including those residing in Illinois, are preparing to shift their clocks ahead by an hour. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is here again, and with it comes the promise of warmer temperatures and brighter days ahead.
When Does Daylight Saving Time Start and End?
Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday of March each year, in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which amended the Uniform Time Act of 1966. This year, DST will start on March 12, and the clocks will move forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. local time. The time change will remain in effect until the first Sunday in November, which is November 5, 2023, when DST will end at 2 a.m., and the clocks will “fall back” to 1 a.m.
What is Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time is a tradition that involves setting the clock ahead by an hour in the spring and back by an hour in the fall. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, providing an additional hour of daylight in the evening.
Why Do We Observe Daylight Saving Time?
The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is to provide more hours of daylight during the evening, thus saving energy and reducing the demand for electricity. It is said that the origins of DST date back to the early 20th century, during World War I when Germany adopted the practice as a way to conserve fuel.
The US followed suit in 1918 and implemented DST as “war time” until the war’s end. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized DST in the US, and it has remained in place since.
Coping with Losing Sleep
While the extra hour of daylight in the evening may be a welcome change, losing an hour of sleep can be challenging for many people. Here are a few tips to help you cope with the change:
- Gradually adjust your sleep schedule a few days before the time change.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and comfortable.
- Get plenty of exercise during the day to help you sleep better at night.
The Controversy Surrounding Daylight Saving Time
Despite the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which mandates the observance of DST in the US, there have been ongoing debates about the need for it. Some argue that DST can disrupt sleep patterns, increase the risk of accidents due to fatigue, and have adverse effects on agriculture and livestock.
Efforts to eliminate DST have gained traction in recent years, and the Sunshine Protection Act was introduced in the US Senate to eliminate DST except for Hawaii and parts of Arizona. However, the bill has stalled in the House and has yet to be passed into law.
Read More: Two Bills Introduced to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent in the US.
What Happened with the Sunshine Protection Act? What are the Pros and Cons of Permanent Daylight Saving Time.
The Sunshine Protection Act, which was passed by the Senate in 2020, aimed to eliminate seasonal clock changes in the US, with the exception of Hawaii and parts of Arizona. Despite its passage in the Senate, the bill stalled in the House, where it remained in a committee until the expiration of the previous Congress.
The potential shift has sparked a mix of thoughts on the matter, with some believing it could lead to a reduction in crime, encourage children to play outside, and lower the risk of heart attacks and car accidents. The bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, who cited recent scientific evidence showing the harmful effects of clock-switching.
Studies have found that the switch to daylight saving brings a small increase in workplace injuries and medical errors in the days following the change, and a 2019 study found that the risk of heart attacks went up in the week after clocks sprung forward. However, other research did not find such an increase. While the research overall is mixed, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports the opposite switch to permanent standard time, citing that bodies function best with more sunlight in the morning.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois’ 9th Congressional District, who is a Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that she has received calls from constituents who prefer permanent standard time due to safety concerns for children who have to wait too long in the dark during winter for the school bus. Schakowsky also said she has heard from constituents who prefer longer daylight hours and as a result, support permanent daylight saving time.
The issue of time changes has led to a split among sleep experts, with some advocating for permanent daylight saving time, and others advocating for permanent standard time. Regardless of which time zone ultimately prevails, Dr. Kathy Sexton-Radek, a consultant for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Public Safety Committee, has said that changing the clocks can have negative effects on the body, causing mood changes, fatigue, concentration issues, and more.
Nearly every US state observes daylight saving time, except for Arizona and Hawaii. US territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, also do not observe daylight saving time.
Standard time is the local time in a country or region when daylight saving time is not in use. More than 60% of the countries in the world use standard time all year, while the remaining countries use DST during the summer months, generally setting clocks forward one hour from standard time.
As we prepare to move our clocks ahead by an hour, it is essential to keep in mind the significance of Daylight Saving Time and how it affects our daily lives. With this information, you can make an informed decision about how to cope with losing sleep and take advantage of the extra hour of daylight.
while the research on the effects of daylight saving time is mixed, the debate continues over whether the US should switch to permanent daylight saving time or permanent standard time. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that changing the clocks can have negative effects on the body, regardless of which time zone is chosen.