Northwest Missourian Opinion

Daylight saving time started a little over a month ago, and my body is still lagging behind; one hour of lost sleep has turned into many. I know that as soon as my body settles into a balanced rhythm again, it’ll be time to change back to standard time. Switching back and forth between times is a nuisance and a pointless disruption to modern life. I’m not the only one who is fed up with changing clocks twice a year. 

The Missouri House gave preliminary approval April 14 to a bill that would stop time changes every spring and fall. House Bill 848 would make daylight saving time the official time year-round, eliminating the switch back to standard time in the fall.

Missouri now joins 23 other states that have implemented similar legislation. 

Most states have tried passing legislation in recent years to set their state either on standard time or daylight saving time permanently. Since 2015, at least 350 resolutions and bills on the subject have been introduced throughout the U.S. However, only Florida became successful in enacting legislation to permanently observe daylight saving time in 2018. Getting the legislation approved federally is another story, as Florida is still waiting on the U.S. Congress to permit the bill. 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in 2018, a move that would shift the whole country to year-round daylight saving time. Since then, Rubio has reintroduced the bill multiple times, most recently in March. This recent push could be why Missouri is deciding to act on daylight saving time legislation at this otherwise random time.

The majority of Americans support a set time, with 63% in favor of a fixed year-round time, according to a 2020 survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

Proponents of the bill argued it would be more convenient and pointed to science that proves the time adjustment is difficult for some people; I’m in full support. Losing an hour of sleep every spring makes it harder to wake up and fall asleep on a set schedule, leading to sleep deprivation with negative consequences. Fatal car accidents spiked by nearly 6% the week following the switch to daylight saving time, according to a 2020 study by the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Springing forward also has negative consequences on our health. Switching to daylight saving time is linked to cardiovascular diseases and other heart problems. A 2014 study shows a 24% increase in heart attacks the Monday after setting our clocks forward. 

Sleep schedule disruptions seem to cause the majority of health problems surrounding daylight saving time. A fixed year-round time would solve these problems, whether that fixed time is daylight saving time like Missouri is proposing or standard time. Making standard time the fixed time would mean brighter mornings but earlier sunsets. This would benefit the kids waiting for the bus in the morning, but it also cuts out their afternoon freetime daylight.

When daylight saving time was established, people started their work day earlier and preferred lighter mornings. Standard work and school hours today make people work into the evening. Making daylight saving time year-round would allow for more sunlit standard work hours, which could reduce rates of seasonal depression

During the fall and winter when our clocks are set to standard time, our body's internal clock, the circadian rhythm, can become disrupted due to lack of sunlight exposure. This issue is especially troublesome for college students in the fall and winter because when it’s dark at 4 p.m.,  it’s harder to gain motivation for students who suffer from seasonal depression. As one of those students, I’m in favor of more sunlight in the evening, especially because that’s when I do the majority of my work. 

The daylight saving time change didn’t even exist until Germany adopted it in 1916 to save energy during World War I, influencing countries like the U.S. to follow suit. For some ungodly reason, we are still observing this out of date tradition. We should be on a set year-round time, preferably daylight saving time, instead of letting governments play time pingpong while our bodies are constantly trying to catch up.

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