It’s that time of the year again–the season of embracing change. The trees provide us with the last show of bright color until spring, and holiday decor starts making its way into our homes. We are in the easygoing stage of classes, where there is no demand to study for this midterm or that final. Everything seems to be pointing toward a cozy holiday season.
Then comes the inevitable rearrangement of schedules.
Suddenly, we’ve all gained an hour of sleep. Waking up on Sunday morning, you may have realized that you felt more rested than usual, or found pride in the fact that you were up before noon. This is the expected occurrence, at least, considering that at 2:00 AM on Nov. 7th, all automatic clocks shifted back one hour to 1:00 AM.
Originally, Daylight Savings was meant to bring conservation to the United States. It occurs twice a year, with clocks being set back one hour in November and being set forward in March, when “Daylight Savings time” begins. This concept originated in the late 1700s with one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, as a part of an initiative to conserve candles. It has continued as a part of an initiative to conserve electricity.
The question that a lot of people are asking now is: what’s the point?
The transition from Daylight Savings Time (DST) to Standard time in November has been associated with various negative effects, including heart attacks, car accidents and general depressive tendencies. Though there may be other factors involved in these occurrences, such as seasonal depressive disorder and a lack of sunlight, there is no denying the fact that many are negatively affected by this switch.
The sudden brevity of daylight is enough to send any student’s schedule into disarray. The hours that were once productive are now bathed in comfortable darkness that begs stressed students to turn in for the day. Especially for those who are fond of order and habit, this change can be unnecessarily disruptive and shocking. Young adults have taken to social media to express their frustration with the United States’ continued adoption of DST, as Twitter user @Keeairuh demonstrates:
Many Americans, especially those of the younger generations, have proposed the termination of DST. If this were to happen, the United States would simply remain on Standard Time throughout the entire year alongside the rest of the world. The contradicting evidence is that technically, DST does save some energy–roughly enough energy to power 100,000 households for an entire year (U.S. Department of Energy). What we are left to ponder is whether or not this is worth a week of distress.
For now, though, the tradition of DST is happily and healthily thriving in the United States. If you have found yourself in particularly bad shape after the shift, remember that this is only temporary and that it marks the beginning of a cheerful holiday season. To help ease the effects, Keith Fridel, Ph.D., suggests getting to bed earlier, maintaining consistency, enjoying longer evenings, exercising, mindful eating and a reduction in screen time (HealthPartners Institute).