Every March, people all over the United States turn their clocks one hour forward, whether they like it or not. Many people believe that the purpose of daylight saving time (DST) is to provide farmers with more daylight, although that is a myth! Plants and animals are not governed by time as humans are; they rely mainly upon the sun. Farmers still have to wait for the dew to evaporate off the hay before bailing it, no matter what time it is; many farmers do not favor the time change.
This raises the question: why was DST introduced? Germany was the first country to adopt DST on May 1st, 1916 during WW1 to conserve fuel; most of Europe followed soon after. Almost two years later, the U.S. adopted the practice; it was unpopular and was soon abolished after the war. It was permanently and uniformly instituted in 1966 with the exception that entire states could forgo the clock changes. Today, Hawaii and Arizona are the only states in America that do not set their clocks forward every March; only 40% of countries worldwide observe DST.
Arizona is situated far enough south that the state government opted out of the time switches because it did not affect their daylight very much. Not all of Arizona did, though; the Navajo Nation, situated mostly in Arizona, participates in DST. There is a smaller Hopi reservation, located fully within the Navajo Nation, that does not. This creates a daylight saving donut, with the Navajo Nation suspended an hour in the future for half the year.
Even though DST was created to save power during wars, this is not the case anymore. In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it was estimated that it increased overall electricity usage by 1%! DST may help people reduce lighting costs, but costs of air conditioning and heating tend to go up due to the different sunset and sunrise time. Because of this, DST tends to be a controversial topic.
In a survey of 84 Bonneville High School staff and students, 57% were against it. 64% reported losing over half an hour of sleep during spring forward; many students, however, commented that their sleep schedules were too irregular to be majorly affected by the jump. DST also seems to affect students’ mental health. Seven surveyed students mentioned stress and depression, and one student said that sleep deprivation combined with seasonal depression and the sun setting early adds up to a lot. Here are some tips for next year!