Daylight Saving Time is one of the most misunderstood practices in the world. It is implemented in 70 countries, and while nobody likes springing forward an hour in March, Daylight Saving Time has several benefits that must be acknowledged.
Firstly, it is worth mentioning that the earth’s axis and rotation are unique in that, as the new year progresses, the sun continues to shine a minute or two later each night (at least for us here in Michigan). After the summer solstice in June, the days slowly but surely get shorter. These minutes add up as the months progress. Therefore, regardless of whether or not Daylight Saving Time is being practiced, our days and nights will be affected by these uncontrollable factors.
The original intention of Daylight Saving Time was to provide additional light later into the night to save money on
candles and oil for lamps in the evening.
In the United States, this was proposed by Benjamin Franklin, but it was not until 1966 that Daylight Saving Time became
So, what is it that makes Daylight Saving Time so beneficial for Americans? The statistics speak for themselves.
According to American Home Shield (AHS), there is a correlation between Daylight Saving Time and lower crime rates.
During the extra sunlight Americans enjoy during this time, there is a 27% drop in the number of robberies that occur,
which are typically done under cover of darkness.
Additionally, thanks to Daylight Saving Time, the amount of artificial light that is consumed by American households is less since the natural light from the sun stays around later into the evening. This saved energy adds up and contributes to lower consumer bills during the Daylight Saving period.
Daylight Saving Time can also be thanked for an improved economy. With the sun staying out later from March
through early November, people are more willing to stay out later into the night.
When the sun sets at 6:00 in the evening, people are psychologically wired to view this as the end of the day, so they are less
likely to want to be outside of their house after sunset, whether or not it’s only 6:00 in the evening. With more people out later, more economic activity occurs and keeps our country’s gears turning.
In addition to the benefits of lower consumer costs, energy consumption, overall crime, and a boost to our economy, overall health is improved thanks to Daylight Saving Time as well.
Weather patterns and the amount of light throughout the day have a noticeable effect on people’s mental health and overall
well-being. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), for example, kicks in for many people when Daylight Saving Time ends in November and the amount of darkness during most people’s waking hours is increased.
Finally, traffic incidents are more common during dusk and nighttime, which we have already established comes earlier in the day when Daylight Saving Time is not in effect.
According to Science Direct, fatal motor vehicle crashes decrease by 1 percent during the Daylight Saving Time period.
To put this in perspective, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that Michigan alone saw nearly 1,000 motor
vehicle fatalities in 2019.
We do not always recognize or appreciate the benefits Daylight Saving Time has to offer, but it is quite literally a matter of life and death for many Americans. It’s fascinating the impact the sun has on our lives, whether or not we are aware of it.
While most countries around the world do not practice Daylight Saving Time, the benefits speak for themselves and offer a
greater sense of well-being for everyone.
When we first began to practice Daylight Saving Time in the United States, it didn’t take long for Americans to realize the
benefits were night and day.