The Lowdown on Daylight Saving Time
Twice a year, Americans reset their clocks as Daylight Saving Time (DST) strikes again, gifting us (or stealing away) an hour of precious sleep. This practice of advancing clocks during the summer months, and setting them back in the Fall, keeps the sun shining into the evening all Summer long.
Believe it or not, DST has been around since 1895 when New Zealand entomologist George Hudson first proposed the idea. Its original purpose was to increase the length of daylight hours, giving people more time to work during prime, sun-filled hours.
We know what you're thinking: What kind of scam is this? You spend your days trapped indoors behind a cubicle where you sometimes don't even KNOW whether it's raining outside. So why is DST still around today? This is a popular topic of discussion, especially with some states even choosing not to participate at all (we're talking to you, Arizona and Hawaii).
At Mattress Firm, we've heard the complaints, and we're not fans of losing an hour of sleep either, but we are curious about just why we're still practicing what seems like an outdated tradition. After close examination, here are some of the myths we busted about DST:
It's All for the Farmers.
You may have heard that DST started because of farming, with the intention of extending hours of working in the field before darkness hit. Mattress Firm's busted this conspiracy. In reality, farmers were strongly against DST. The lost hour of morning light meant farmers had to rush to get their crops to market. Also — cows adjust poorly to schedule shifts. Who moo?
Businesses Benefit from DST.
Although the extra hour may help out the grill and charcoal industries (which earn $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving), it can negatively affect television ratings and airlines. With the sun out longer, families seize the opportunity to eat dinner out, or just play outside more — with that, the number of people watching television between 7 and 9 p.m. decreases drastically. Because of the shifting schedules, DST costs the airlines big time — they spend up $147 million in flight schedule changes to adjust to the new timing.
It Increases Energy Conservation.
One of the most common rationales for daylight saving time is that we use less energy, because we don't need to flip the lights on by 5:30 p.m. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy reported that DST only reduces annual energy by about 0.03%, and another study by the University of California Santa Barbara found it might even increase our energy use.
More Sunlight Makes Us Happier.
Although additional Vitamin D is good for us, experts have found an increase in workplace accidents, headaches and suicides when DST starts and ends. Researchers blame DST for disrupting our normal sleep cycles, which causes changes in our circadian rhythm. These effects can be a trigger for people with mental health problems, leading to days or weeks of discomfort.
As you embrace the extra hour of daylight this season, consider using that time for the dreaded annual spring cleaning. Not looking forward to sweeping out your dusty attic? Cleaning up your finances and budget will make you feel just as productive... without all of the dust and clutter.
At Mattress Firm, we stretch your budget further — so stop by one of your nearest Mattress Firm locations to learn about how you can save on a mattress this spring. Looking for savings beyond the bed? Follow our team of budget experts for tips and tricks on how to keep your finances in check all year long.